Worst Horoscopes. Ever.
"These are absolutely the worst horoscopes I've ever read!"

"The (insert sign here) doesn't make any sense."

Not that I would bad-mouth any particular sign, but the (insert sign here), as a group, isn't making any sense this week. so, in my defense, the scope accurately reflects that type of world view.

However, I'm beginning to take the hint. Or maybe not. Another year is poised to be delivered.


"There are still some deals available."

I wandered into an increasingly familiar chain-store, on a coffee-run, as directed, and the little girl behind the counter looked up at me, "You know, you look like Peter Fonda, sort of a biker look."

I had a that shocked look, she continued, backtracking, "I didn't mean to offend you...."

Oh no, no offense taken. I'm just used to being called a musician. Which I'm not.

Guitar player. Musician. Never "Peter Fonda, biker guy."

Or, the new claim?

Worst horoscopes ever.


"Stay tuned, we'll be back after our break."

year-end clearance
Catch it all before the prices go up!

Just a couple of points to make the new year little easier for me.

1. Quit shopping at the outlet mall. First off, the prices aren't any better than a regular department store, and after that unfortunate incident, I'm not allowed back in that one store, anyway. How as I supposed to know?

2. Worst horoscopes, ever. New marketing plan.

"These are the worst scopes I've ever read."

Embrace it.

I still haven't figured out how to say, "I'm in a foul mood - don't ask for free shit."

3. "How do you expect me to raise cattle when you spend all your time shooting the bull?"

Working on that one.

4. I've got to scrub the hard drive. Need to find a good cleanser for that, like Ajax or Comet, to get all the dirt out of the machine.

5. $100 fine for fighting.

Rolling roadshow
Which is term I picked up from some place, but after years of road-work, I'm entitled.

So it's not such a big deal, folks stranded in airports, what's always a memory for me is being stuck in the middle of nowhere, like about 30 minutes outside of some small town, on the outskirts of nothing, and having the truck grind to a halt.

Memories, up and down that interstate.

More news as it develops, I'm about as booked up as I can be now.

Roll it yourself
Hard to explain, I suppose, unless one has enough history, or perhaps it's mileage, to properly understand the term, Roll Your Own.

Plus, this is supposed to be "Really Simple Syndication," which, after I broke it all down, it was. Sort of.

If someone has a simpler way to do it, I'd like to see.... as it is, the weekly audio file is looking for broader exposure. Plus, I'd like to make the subscription area available thusly, too.
All of which I was wrestling with while try to manage family and friends in Dallas. Turn around and head south to Austin, and from thence, onward south to Helotes, eventually. I must have some kind of a weird connection with Joe Ely (a Lubbock Leo).

None of which makes Dallas any less like Dallas.

A Scorpio, the Scorpio sister, I'm guessing, did the honors on the inbound afternoon coffee, and it wasn't quite as good as I recall it being before, making the coffee contest a little more close, Little City and Jo's edging up a notch.

But that could just be me.

Welcome to the jungle
One of the most perfect expressions of rue 'gift' energy, the act of buying something for someone that the person won't buy for themselves.

I really don't want all of Gun'n'Roses albums. Matter of fact, I can't think of any of that group's albums that I would want in its entirety. One song, maybe two. However, even that one song, its not like I would rush and buy that one song.

However, Sister did send me an iTunes gift card, a little credit for the online store. Ubiquitous, almost, I think those cards are for sale everywhere.

But that's also how I wound up with the single cut, "Welcome to the Jungle..." And for an extended family Xmas experience, stretching for the next few days?

"Welcome to the jungle..."

Holiday cheer. Off to Dallas for the requisite parental visit.

Special to that one Leo:
"You write because you can't [b]not[/b] write."
(From some American novelist of no small renown.)

Metal memberships
I was figuring, start the new year out right? Go for the tiered access and certain levels for memberships, hence the metals, like silver, gold & platinum.

After talking it over with the office manager, my cat, I decided it would be good to give this a shot, and what I was figuring, I could list the options. It's not etched in stone yet, but as an idea, it has appeal to me, as long as I can keep it simple to administrate. That's always a catch. I hate to lose touch with real people, in as much as I have such a tenuous grasp on reality as it is.

[b]Non-metallic membership: FREE[/b]
Access to free horoscopes (delayed one week), able to make comments in the web journal (free registration required), some questions answered in e-mail, webcam and all other material on the website freely available.


[b]Silver members: $2.95/30 days, via PayPal[/b]
Access to the premium, current, up-to-date horoscopes - updated at midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The premium scopes are 98% advertising free. No flashing banners or annoying notices. No cholesterol, no trans-fats, very few calories. No chemical additives, and no preservatives. The premium web page is also backwards compatible to older browsers.

Plus: current weekly audio/video 'cast. Hint: it's not just me re-reading the week's scope, but one more visual interpretation of the week, usually updated on Monday morning, but due to constraints, sometimes not updated until Tuesday, but I've hit it on Monday morning almost 90% of the time. That preview includes hints about the rest of the week, a precursor to Thursday's scopes. As of now, the audio is ripped from the video and put up as an mp3 file, the weekly podcast, if you will, and I won't.

Plus: each premium membership includes quicker e-mail response from me, when there's a burning question, or, for that matter, when there's a point in the scopes that doesn't make sense. I'm here to help clarify, not obfuscate.

Plus: the entire text for the romance guide is available, as a download PDF file. Regular retail value of the book is $19.95 or something.

Plus: once a year, or thereabouts, a premium member can ask for natal chart report - I toss them in as a perk, just to keep track, and also, to help prevent that obfuscation.

The best perk to premium membership? You get to know, in your heart of hearts, that you're responsible for helping maintain the same quality of horoscopes as you've come to expect, with the same level of service, and you have to know, that you make this all possible. Without regular subscribers, the website would go away.


[b]Gold members: $50/year, cash, check, &c.[/b]
Access to the premium, current, up-to-date horoscopes - updated at midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The premium scopes are 98% advertising free. No flashing banners or annoying notices. No cholesterol, no trans-fats, very few calories. No chemical additives, and no preservatives. The premium web page is also backwards compatible to older browsers.

Plus: current weekly audio/video 'cast. Hint: it's not just me re-reading the week's scope, but one more visual interpretation of the week, usually updated on Monday morning, but due to constraints, sometimes not updated until Tuesday, but I've hit it on Monday morning almost 90% of the time. That preview includes hints about the rest of the week, a precursor to Thursday's scopes. As of now, the audio is ripped from the video and put up as an mp3 file, the weekly podcast, if you will, and I won't.

Plus: each premium membership includes quicker e-mail response from me, when there's a burning question, or, for that matter, when there's a point in the scopes that doesn't make sense. I'm here to help clarify, not obfuscate.

Plus: the entire text for the romance guide is available, as a download PDF file. Regular retail value of the book is $19.95 or something.

Plus: once a year, or thereabouts, a premium member can ask for natal chart report - I toss them in as a perk, just to keep track, and also, to help prevent that obfuscation.

The best perk to premium membership? You get to know, in your heart of hearts, that you're responsible for helping maintain the same quality of horoscopes as you've come to expect, with the same level of service, and you have to know, that you make this all possible. Without regular subscribers, the website would go away.


[b]Platinum members:[/b]
Access to the premium, current, up-to-date horoscopes - updated at midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The premium scopes are 98% advertising free. No flashing banners or annoying notices. No cholesterol, no trans-fats, very few calories. No chemical additives, and no preservatives. The premium web page is also backwards compatible to older browsers.

Plus: current weekly audio/video 'cast. Hint: it's not just me re-reading the week's scope, but one more visual interpretation of the week, usually updated on Monday morning, but due to constraints, sometimes not updated until Tuesday, but I've hit it on Monday morning almost 90% of the time. That preview includes hints about the rest of the week, a precursor to Thursday's scopes. As of now, the audio is ripped from the video and put up as an mp3 file, the weekly podcast, if you will, and I won't.

Plus: each premium membership includes quicker e-mail response from me, when there's a burning question, or, for that matter, when there's a point in the scopes that doesn't make sense. I'm here to help clarify, not obfuscate.

Plus: the entire text for the romance guide is available, as a download PDF file. Regular retail value of the book is $19.95 or something.

Plus: once a year, or thereabouts, a premium member can ask for natal chart report - I toss them in as a perk, just to keep track, and also, to help prevent that obfuscation.

The best perk to premium membership? You get to know, in your heart of hearts, that you're responsible for helping maintain the same quality of horoscopes as you've come to expect, with the same level of service, and you have to know, that you make this all possible. Without regular subscribers, the website will go away.


Just xmas lights.
Just a couple of shots of the xmas lights.

Merry Xmas.
'nuff said.

(No whitetail deer, or reindeer, were hurt in this picture, however, many electrons were inconvenienced, as was good taste.)

"It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing"
Shakespeare's MacBeth (V.v.26-8)

"That's like putting a Saturn rocket in a food blender."

Weird video clip wherein it's a sports car versus an Apache attack helicopter.

Who wins.

(Xmas does this to me.)

Coffee notes
Via The Coffee Geek, a how-to for Turkish coffee. I've only had it once, that I can recall, actually, in New Mexico. And along with the coffee, I learned a little trick: how to read coffee grinds.

It's not a skill-set that I advertise, nor is it an every day occurrence, but I have found, over a cup of decently strong espresso, I can occasionally perform a little insightful coffee-grounds reading.

The best is a strong, smooth bitter cup of espresso. Unlike many, I prefer my espresso just black, no sugar. If the coffee beans are really good, there's an oily residue, the magic elixir, that rolls off my tongue. Like it almost coats the inside of the mouth, if only for a moment or two. Then there's the heady aroma of coffee.

At one point in the afternoon, I was devoutly exposing my undying, unyielding love, while I was addressing a properly foamy cup of just such espresso.

Sister sent me a package of Peet's Italian Roast, a nickel-bag, and I could easily tell from the packaging what was in the Xmas gift. I opened it up and the morning coffee, when that was fresh, was one of the best cups of coffee I've ever brewed here.

Somehow, I got it all correct. The water was just beginning to boil, the grounds were the right grind, consistency, and for one shining moment, I had the perfect cup of coffee. Doubt I'll repeat that process so perfectly. It's all about trying, striving for perfection.

For coffee in Austin, there are a couple of places that stand out. Too bad the place has become uber-trendy, but Jo's on S. Congress still does one of the very best local espresso-based drinks. Which is odd, because the beans come from Little City Coffee, allegedly, and the Little City espresso-base is arguably ass good, but for some reason, I tend to find Jo's with a slight edge in the flavor/roast/preparation category. But it's a close tie, and I've had better access with the Little City wireless. Plus their coffee is still dreamy, in an Austin way.

Ambiance goes to Little City, but there are two other contenders for local flavor, local flavor in what a coffee shop should feel like, as opposed to the taste of the brew. One is Bouldin Creek Caffeine Dealer, a perennial fave, and the other is the almost daily stop at Halcyon. If it's just me? Or if I'm meeting open-minded clients, then Bouldin wins, as the vegetarian food is coffee-house dependable.

Halcyon has an added advantage of full-bar service. Not that it matters one tiny bit to me, but there is the advantage of me having what I like, like Thursday afternoon, a shot of espresso, while Bubba had an Xmas shot of whiskey, my treat.

"If you having a double, I'd better make mine a double," he said.

Toe-to-toe, in the bar, with the Irish. It's a losing proposition.

However, that's part of the point, it's about ambiance. Pieces of places that feel right. Plus, I can read the leftover coffee grinds, just like tea leafs.


Hole in Austin's sole
I'm trying to figure it out, I'm guessing, this one pair of boots must be near ten years old now. They are handmade Lucchese "Burnt Cherry" ostrich-skin for the lowers, uppers are just fancy tooled cow-hide. Wore through the soles the first time, overseas. Wore through the soles again here in town. Just as a point, I've had those boots resoled at the factory maybe two or three times. Then I started using local stores, had another three soles put on that way.

adFor years, one of the hotels we worked in El Paso, was right around the corner from the Lucchese Factory Outlet store. Think I bought a pair of boots there once. Not sure. So I always assumed the Lucchese factory was in El Paso - me not being one to get concerned with checking facts.

After the factory repair returned my boots the last time - said they could no longer fix that pair, I turned to a local guy. First, a legendary boot-maker, then a highly recommended place, and finally, about a year ago, a small rip appeared along the outer portion of the skin, just above where it meets the sole. I had another local boot-fixer do a fabulous job of fixing the boots, plus new soles and heels.

Although he's an Austin native, I can still recall the cobbler looking at the boots, "Good boots. Hand-made. Huh," with a Spanish lilt. But the boot-repair man? He knew his stuff.

I'm in a quandary, as there's now another tiny tear, two days ago, when I noticed it, the tear was only a few centimeters long, but it's grown, in the last day. I'm one who's always in favor of repair and recycle, and I'd hate to part with a pair of boots that have so much history, but there's only so much (ab)use the equipment can take. When do I abandon the hope of repair, and go for the replacements? And what do I do with the old boots, anyway? There's a tremendous emotional investment in that one pair. They went from dress shoes to work shoes after about the third or fourth resole.

The guy at the Golden Slipper did such a good job last time, I'm sure these could be fixed up easily. But I'm not sure, should I just keep fixing and patching when a whole new pair might be a better idea? I'm kind of liking the old pair, already broke in, we've got a good history, and so on.

The Golden Slipper is located on the "Tex-Mex-istan mile," along South First Street (SoFi?), conveniently sandwiched between uber-trendy Lower Congress (LoCo?) and soon-to-be-trendy South Lamar (SoLa?).

Local media:
Local media tends to ignore me, so I tend to ignore them. Way it goes, status quo. I was working up another web graphic, possibly a splash page, with one of my favorite images, the Stardust Motel - it's just a sign, last time I was there, and then I noticed the local weekly alternative paper, which, to me, seems pretty much mainstream. The front page banner and headline was about Marfa. Which coincides with a conversation last week, at an Xmas party, about Marfa and its environs. And how it's become a town for the trendy hipsters.

I love the vistas between towns, like Ft. Davis and Marfa, Very old mountains, worn down by eons of time, and geography is amazing since it's all basically high desert. So seeing the town listed as a new cool destination is bothersome. Also means I have to find a new image to play with, like to replace the Marfa Lights badge, and the Stardust Motel motif.

I mean, if Tuesday is the new Friday, and black is the new black, I'm wondering, is Marfa the new Austin?

Two meat Tuesday
image Family newsletter? Last year, I ripped the "best of," or whatever I deemed to be the best of, into a book, aptly titled "Two Meat Tuesday," or sometimes, it was just titled "astrofish.net/xenon," Which, think about it, is the web journal's home. I toyed with some ideas, but what I wound up coming up with was the text for a typical, I suppose, in this day and age, "family newsletter," the ubiquitous item that kills many trees, and leaves the postal workers overwrought.

I was at the post office Tuesday afternoon, and as I inched closer, I kept hearing the usual refrain about "You want this there by Christmas?"

I kept thinking, "If I wanted it there by Xmas, I'd mailed it, like, last month. Duh." But I kept my own counsel and didn't mention that.

So what happened? I was in the UK with my family for Xmas '04. Got home in time to get sick, get well, and hit the trail, metaphorically speaking, and I was off and running. West Texas. El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, up to Dallas, back to the coast a couple of times, and finally, down to Rockport. Where I rediscovered the joys of the coastal bend, that little patch of seashore that stretches from south of Houston, towards Corpus Christi, and borders the Gulf of Mexico.

I had much fun, just fishing off the piers, and on one getaway trip, I was coerced into hiring a guide with a strong boat for some shallow-water bay fishing. Which generated some excitement, and rekindled another fire I've got for bay fishing. I'd forgotten how much fun it can be. The scenic beauty of a Rosetta Spoonbill, looks like Pink Flamingo, against a backdrop of shallow shoreline marshes, and a silent oil platform in the distance, against the sun rise. It is the Texas coast.

Two of the trips to the coast were punctuated by hurricanes. Three, come to think of it. I had no end of fun teasing my mother about how I was heading into the gaping maws of a hurricane. What really happened is I got rained on once, and the other times just resulted in higher than normal tides, which, in turn resulted in better fishing conditions. But it did get to be a standing joke that me planning a trip to the coast usually meant a hurricane. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

I think I made it Las Vegas once last summer. Bubba's birthday bash, as it were. And it wasn't. But it was.

There was a trip up to Seattle for a family vacation, along with Wagner's Ring Cycle (all four operas in sequence). On a couple of afternoons, I managed to grab some pretty amazing pictures, especially considering the hardware limitations, the pictures were mostly from the flower market downtown. Good images.

I was in Dallas for work, just prior to Seattle, and there was a new coffee shop there, with arguably the best coffee - espresso - in Texas. Better than any I've sampled in Austin. In Seattle, there was the coffee place, plus, of course, a pilgrimage to the original (big name brand here) store. What impressed me? The original logo had naked ta-ta's on it. The spark is still there.

The images, especially the flowers? That gave birth to a new idea, the yearly family DVD. I've been toying with it for the last couple of evenings, off and on, trying to get it all ripped right. Now, I don't figure - even my own family - is interested in hundred of pictures of me with a certain bass, my fingers hooked on her jaw for a few moments.

My phone went for a swim with me, and I think a little dunk in the creek shouldn't hurt the phone that much, but was as dead as can be. Which, oddly enough, resulted in less fish pictures, as I didn't have a handy way to get those pictures. Still, there's a gem of an idea, born out by the odd collection of pictures - digital images - fish or not.

It's not like this was that much of reach, not technically, but the idea had some merit. So my immediate family is getting an Xmas DVD, with hundreds of photos encoded, displayed, and in some cases, set to music.

It's rather time consuming, but these days, or rather, the long winter nights, seems like it's the best course of action, let the machine churn and burn.

One of the best events, despite the hoary planets and their displacement, was the family trip at Thanksgiving. Had a chance to fish with Pa Wetzel, and that was just the best, "The oldest man got the biggest fish," he was able to brag.

As the images flip along, I realize that only family will get some of the references. Ma Wetzel loves pigs, and one point, collected items that were pigs. or pig-shaped. Both along the coast and then, along the freeway to Dallas, there are places that sell statuary. Concrete cast in various shapes. Like a pig. I was showing Ma Wetzel a picture of a half-ton concrete pig, and she decided that the picture wold be better than the pig itself.

There's also a threat Sister and I have made, over the years, to buy and install the bird-bath with a replica of the "little boy peeing" as its centerpiece. Finally found it at one of the roadside statuary places, but no, I didn't succumb to the urge to purchase. Must've been on my way to work someplace. I tend to show up broke and hope to earn enough to make it home again.


Just Business notes (to self)
A client sent me an e-card, and when I clicked through to the website, what I looked at wasn't the flash-based animation cards, but the structure of the business.

astrofish One thing led to another, and I clicked over to a different site, gladly, this one has an Austin P.O. Box, and again, I hit a point in the site with "stuff for sale." Since it's a graphically heavy site, I can easily understand the cost of bandwidth.

Which turned my attention away from the site and towards the payment gateway as well as its structure.

Again, I looked at various points, and this brings me back to properly monetizing what I've got. Content in the subscription section is the updated scopes with no advertising whatsoever. Then there's also the weekly audio, now video, "podcast," if you will, and I won't.

So that's a Monday and Thursday update, twice a week, audio/video, as well as the extended text, plus answers to questions in e-mail, for the subscribers.

What I toyed with, as an idea, and following Apple's lead on this, was switching it up to a weekly fee, of say, 99 cents.

It's an idea with some merit, but the way I see it, and the way I tend to work, in as much as I understand my own process, I figure that at least once in a 30-day period, I'll post a scope that is so far off the mark, so removed from consensual reality, possibly even offensive to the subscriber, that the weekly fee doesn't work. Taken as a whole, week-in and week-out, the overall tenor of it works, it's just that I'll sometimes miss the mark. By a long shot. Like, not even in the ball park, to dredge up some sports metaphors.

Not that it ever bothers me, either. if I was 100% right all the time, I'd scare me.

A note cycled through Monday morning, and it got me thinking. The note was from the developer of the software I use for the back-end of this web log, . I can't speak highly enough of the product, love it, use it, like the development process. I'm not too worried about the change in licensing that the company is doing, either. Makes sense. Got me thinking, though, though, a yearly license for here? That's what the monthly fee is. works out to costing less than $36 per annum.

Perks? I got 'em. Weekly audio and video. Not much in advertising - at all. Again, a cool deal. I thought about running the current scopes out to the free side again, since that seems to work for some. But I've had such hit-and-miss luck with advertising revenue, it's not worth it. Plus, that audio is starting to eat into the bandwidth. Which is a cost factor. And video, too, that's a big bandwidth burner, as well.

Changes for the foreseeable future? Trying to figure out how to make the video longer and better while making it shorter and smaller. But that's a perk saved for the paying customer.

Bigger push for subscription services as those have ramped up some.

The other item that caught my attention over the last year? Price point.

People in California are more willing to pay, and pay more, for what they get here. Means it has added value for those folks who are more astrologically aware, I'm guessing.

I cruised around on a couple of free astrology sights, and I was appalled at the lack of good, current information. I'm not talking about material that is out-of-date for a day, or week, or anything like that, I was seeing material that was dated from years ago.

My internal critic has reminded me that I mis-read the ephemeris one time, and I posted the various moments of retrograde planets off by a day or two. Insistent fact-checkers questioned this, but so far, it's only really happened once, and I do tend to use three sources for planet data. None of which seems to agree about the minute, but then, who said this was a precise science?


Requiem for a restaurant
It's all about the old way dying off. The end of an era. Times gone by? The relentless march of progress.

As long as I've been around San Antonio, I've heard references to "Earl Abel's," and I've been once.

As long as I've been around San Antonio, I've heard references to "Earl Abel's," and I've been once.

#2 "combo," three "thin" pancakes, an egg, and several strips of bacon. Standard fare. Excellent atmosphere, redolent in red velour, dark wood paneling, and circa 50-year old decorating ideas.

It's a type of place that no longer exists in the modern world, and I'm guessing, with this one closing its doors, we won't be seeing many, if any, more.

Most curious was the "now hiring sign," but the answer was the old employees had left, and there was a need for new workers - just through the first, though. St. Mary's? I don't' recall, one of those colleges or universities there?

The news was that the landmark restaurant was closing, its property sold and developed as high-rise multi-unit dwellings - all in the name of progress.

It's term I encountered in the book I'm currently reading, the book is about coffee houses, the culture, and in the first portion of the text, there's a great deal of English history. I was sleepy when I was drifting through the English history section, getting parts of it confused with Shakespeare history, and Neal Stephenson's Quicklsilver trilogy, as there are overlapping parts, histories and figures.

[/stye]I'm certainly not a part of the great "free speech leftist web writers" group, or, for that matter, the right wingers, either. Due to being in Austin, and me with long hair, it's generally assumed that I'm some kind of a liberal. Which I am, to a point, but let's not carried away with the politics. What intrigued my with the coffee house debate, and some of the political maneuvering/wrangling discussed, was just that. In the late 17th century, just as coffee houses were emerging as a focal point for political discussion, just as the masses were reaching that critical point about the ability to discuss what their government was doing, there were proclamations issued as an attempt to regulate (read: staunch the flow) of liberal ink.

What struck me, though, was the corollary between various raging left and right wing writers, wars being fought on web pages, assailing everything from the TV wasteland to the current Republican regime.

One of the premier-published-proto diarist is Pepys. Ten years of history, in excruciating detail, who's doing what to whom, and what he's thinking about, what was for dinner, and how's the wife? He's referenced in the coffee house book as well as a cameo appearance in Stephenson's novel.

Tie this to the web? It's matter of understanding the precedents, and that's why the gloss of English history through the lens of the coffee house culture was good.

The other side of the point, though has a lot less to do with politics and web pages, and lot more to do with what was happening with me. I finished the year out, finally wrote the last couple of scopes, in a fine fashion, I'd like to think, and that made me feel better. And that's where the term came into play for me.

One year done. Or, better yet, another year done. I was no sooner done with December, though, than I was casting a scope for January, getting ready, as it were. Then, I started to fill in the template I'll use for another year, just a text file, or, more precisely, a separate text file for each week, starting on Thursdays.

Which was why I liked that word, "prorogue.," although, its definition has nothing to do with writing. I'm out-of-session as of now, but I'm not disbanded.

What's always fun, a sure sign of goodness, is that I'm ready to tackle those January scopes now, with renewed vigor and ideas.

Final thoughts:
The image was some graffiti along the First Street Bridge. The city is good about cleaning that up, fairly quickly, but there does seem to be an artist or two who strive to add art where art might not be meant to be. Which makes it highly ephemeral, in some respects.

Stay tuned, that will probably show up as a more fully developed thought - in a January horoscope. But that image, there's the source.


Midnight train to San Antonio
I'm not sure if I should be listening to Wayne Hancock's "87 Southbound," alternatively done by Hank Williams III, but it is all about heading "south to San Antone." Doobie Brothers' "China Grove"? I can't think of a song that sings about Randolph Air Force Base, down the street from where I'll be.

There's something decidedly less romantic and less of an image about watching pairs of T-38's landing. It's not like they are majestic planes, just pilots, learning to fly.

One of the first items that caught my attention Thursday morning was a year-end list.

It's a little early to be doing a year-end list, but if I had to pick just one or two items from the last year? I've pretty much quit listening to the radio, so music is more of an iffy proposition. Two albums stand out, though, one is the Fat Boy Slim's Palookaville, and the other is Robert Earl Keen's What I Really Mean.

The addendum to the REK note, easily goes one step beyond a single album, although, and here's that list idea again, one of my favorite pieces of his work is Live #2 Dinner.

July 4th was REK at the ballpark, then September was REK at Floores Country Store. The July 4th event was forgettable (not a baseball person) except that REK did perform, and he did perform well, and he did perform the "The Great Hank," which, is a truly weird kind of a song, and one that I love. But it's for people who like history, poetry, spoken word, and understand internal Texas references - certainly not a song with mass appeal. Just to make the song better, I was in a little place that would like to think itself a dive - it's not, but thanks for asking - wherein, just like the song, the Astro's were silently beating... never mind, it was just like the song, that's all.

The point about seeing REK at Floores, though, that was a personal history, like, some people want to climb mountains, some people want to jump out of airplanes? Since I've found Live #2 to be one of the best albums of all time, in my personal collection, I was particularly gratified to see the artist, the venue, the weather, all come together.

Besides, that show officially kicked off the Xmas season, "It's a rule, if you sing a song about a fish, you have to sing a song about Christmas," or something like that, was the stage banter.

Merry Christmas from the Family.

One of my guilty pleasures is reading. In that vein, Tim Dorsey (Aquarius), live and in person, plus any one of his novels is a good read. As an author, he's taken the "Florida Wacko Crime Thriller" genre to a new level, and I'm glad about that. Along those lines, Bill Fitzhugh (Libra), doing it to the South, and finally, up and coming Dripping Springs native, Ben Rehder (Leo), as his work continues to improve and entertain. San Antonio native and favored (Gemini) son, Rick Riordan is also worth watching, as there's always that extra layer added to his texts. However, all of this material is purely escapist reading for me, just basic crime thrillers. I've got to give Tim Doresy the nod for over-the-top characters, and the two Texas authors for breaking into a tough category. And thanks to Bill Fitzhugh for the sound track (the south will rise again?)

From my reading list, two other books stand out, separate and apart, and quite unrelated, for style, action, plot, and even some poetic/lyrical language, Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men stuck with me. The red cover doesn't hurt, either, but it's a bloody, good book. Most of the high-brow lit types will give it a miss. Doubt it will make many "best of 2005" lists, and that's their loss.

The other item that I so enjoyed reading was The Truth Will Out, superior academic sleuthing on a cold, cold trail, trying to piece together who Shakespeare really was. Fact or fiction? Coincidence? Almost conclusive evidence, when weighed in the authors' examples. In the past, I've always stayed away from the authorship question, but I have to admit, it's a good case and an excellently argued position.

What's noticeably missing from this last year? Science Fiction. Used to be my favorite category, but these days, I'm less enthralled with it. I can think of a handful of authors I'd like to see new books from, but so far, I haven't seen anything that's truly piqued my curiosity in that area. Not lately, or, by keeping track of what I've been reading, nothing in the last year. Neal Stephenson, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling are authors that were once classified as "science fiction," but anymore, their work is less SF and more just speculative fiction, a larger genre. Or mainstream, even. As an adjunct, the "sword and sorcery" sub-category within Science Fiction? Just never really cut it with me.


Wrestling Wednesday
Wednesday wake-up:
I was awaken by the sounds of a cat, a particular cat, making the "hairball" noise. Cat puke isn't that unusual. On the bed, next to me? Highly unwelcome. Then she does a second one, just to iterate her point, spewing, in as much as a cat can spew, right where my feet would normally hit the cold winter floor. 30 seconds later, she's avoiding her mess on the bed, but she's nuzzling me, urging me to get out of bed and fix her some breakfast. As if her little performance meant nothing.

Cats are notoriously absent-minded, but puking on the bed, then next to it, then expecting me to answer her call for attention?

Of course, it was her way to remind me that I didn't bring her any brisket either Tuesday or Saturday.

When intuition pays:
Weird news item that has a impact on my world, not that I harbor any delusions about going into space in a rocket ship, but Virgin does.

Impact on my world, though? As often as I wander out to El Paso, the closest real airport, and then, up to Las Cruces? There's the residual abundance that's bound to stem from such a project, plus, the more our attention is drawn to the heavens, the better it is for my work.

File under: things to be thankful for:
Homemade video, done live in an Apple store? Glad all I do is talk?


Cannon fodder
Downtown dining in Austin: Wiki Wiki Teriyaki 609 Congress Ave.


I guess it's a price point that matters to me, a point where a meal is cheap enough feel decent about, and yet, the service is elegant enough to feel honored. As such, I'm afraid this version of Wiki Wiki seems to miss the mark in an already overcrowded downtown asian food market. Inside about three square blocks there are a four, maybe five asian places. Seems like the number keeps climbing, too.

At least the food is good.

Winter months, or days, seem to beg for a hot bowl of something spicy and nutritious. That how I got hooked on whatever that soup/stew thing is, pho? That's why I wanted to try Wiki Wiki.

I'd like to give this place a good shot, since it's a formula that seems to work well, but there are two drawbacks, sodium chloride and feng shui.

Wanting a chance to prove my local street cred by naming what was in that location before it was Wiki Wiki, but I can't. I can go back through about three chain operations that have opened and closed there, but I can't recall the original tenant. Part of that is that it's a remarkably forgettable location, between 6th & 7th, on the east side of Congress. But then, it's also got some kind of "bad juju" associated with it, as well.

The art (science to some) of placement and arrangement is a big deal. Across the street from Wiki Wiki is a recent sculpture, and it's a woman hitching up her skirts and firing a cannon - the artillery is aimed right at the front door of the restaurant.

Bad placement.

What that statue is really about? Don't piss off some woman, especially Texas women. They might be armed. With a cannon.

To counteract the placement of that sculpture, as I wandered in from the street, I noticed a "flowing water shrine," the quiet tinkle of water in a fountain, a simple trick to help improve a place's chi. Yes, and the problem was that the quadrant was off, as if it was a simple feng shui trick. If it doesn't fool me, it probably won't fool the wind and the water, either.

Otherwise, the place was apparently clean and well-lit, simple menu, superior green tea (iced). The meal itself, though, and I've only eaten there once, seemed to rely too much on salt as its main spice. The chicken was good, properly cut and sauteed to a perfect point, with fresh broccoli "al dente," and the rice just sticky enough, without the dish being overloaded with celery (usually as filler).

When my order was ready at the counter, a woman who had been speaking in Spanish called to me to let me know my chicken was done. I could make out parts of the Spanish conversation; however, at an adjoining table, there was some talk in an Asian language about which I was clueless.

Less than a mile south of Wiki Wiki, on Congress, is another place, another chain, with a very similar menu. Between the two, despite the cannon and all, I would prefer Wiki Wiki. Price is just about the same. Ambiance is different, with the Wiki Wiki winning. But then, I might be biased. I just want to see one place survive that withering cannon fire.

website: http://www.wikiwikiteriyaki.com

The Cannon:
Angelina Eberly is depicted, firing the cannon that alerted the citizens of Austin to Houston's attempt to steal the capital, not the money capital, but the Republic's records. Tiny bit of Texas history. More info is here and here.

Two meat Tuesday
image Questions, questions. But first, a little musical interlude: next week's background for the weekly audio/video message. I got to toying with the material, and I spent way too much time having way too much fun, pretending that I was in studio, a real studio, and laying down tracks. Then playing mix and match. The problem? For the weekly message, I'm sure I'll talk over all that fret work.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to mix and match such tracks, but I was stuck in loop, with the loops and samples, and I liked the way it was sounding. Whoever built the software? And laid down the actual tracks? Sense of humor, that's for sure, the guitar work is titled "Monster Truck Guitar," funny. Too funny.


Rock on.

Picture index has been updated to include the 2005 collections - pictures, not words. (N.B.: approximately 45% of the images were taken in Austin.)

Thank you for your support:
This article, plus where I've been, and what I've got to look forward to, summed up a problem. Didn't offer much in the way a solution, but I'm working on that.


I was doing three work-related items, all at once, Tuesday morning. Obviously, working on the audio track for the weekly audio-video presentation. Secondly, looking over the scopes, hoping I had everything together for the upcoming scopes, and thirdly, still trying to massage out one of two remaining scopes for the year.

I stopped, because I've been mulling over a comment from Sunday, and that comment was lurking like a little monster, waiting to fester and grow big, into a larger problem. I stopped and counted the upcoming scopes, 6 out 12 signs have internal references to events, actions, and placement in Austin. Recognizable locations, obviously infused with local color. That's why I was confused about the comment, and why I didn't get the point.

The website itself is a business venture, of sorts, but it's also a showcase for my writing. There's a side to it that's only about the business, the subscription and astrology readings, but trying to divide business from my personal life is pretty much impossible. Plus there's no way to to not link the two.

If writing is a way to figure out how wrong one's thinking can be, then a personal journal is way to see the problems, wrestle them to the page, and address the issues. Or see that perhaps I'm giving credit to folks being able to think, or see the fine hand of my personality, shaped by my location, in the background. Usually having laugh.

We all have demons. The quality of life is dependent upon how one deals with one's inner creatures.

One wins?
But which one? Let me know which one is the most appealing....









A funny thing happened at the coffee shop. But since I'm in a quandary about upcoming material, I think I'll just write it into a horoscope.


Long weekend in Austin
Party Saturday night, party Sunday afternoon. Worked, after a fashion, at both.


The let down comes from the after work buzz. After it's all over. Home. Alone. It's quiet. The playlist is done playing.

There's ten years of web work, I was looking at. One of my more favorite pieces of advice is about glancing back over the shoulder to to see where we've been, but then, maybe not dwelling there in the past. I looked up a link from the site, dug through the archives to find out what I was thinking ten years ago, here.

Once again, perhaps it's just the let down from from a long weekend. Maybe I didn't catch any fish on Saturday morning (nibbles? For sure. Just no big fish.)

The web tenure reference is an oblique way of celebrating that I don't have of the Cure on hand. Maybe that's a good point.

I've avoided two pissing matches. One was deftly handled by the administrator, and a kind word helped smooth matters over. Valid point. Thought-provoking feedback.

The other?

I was taken off the list from a certain portal for horoscopes. Then, in the same e-mail, I was offered a chance to buy an ad there. I couldn't respond in a human manner. I did nothing.

A little later, a second piece of email offering me a chance to buy advertising forced some research. Plenty of traffic comes through that horoscope portal - none of the traffic buys, leases, or even subscribes, and therefore, it's not a good bet that advertising there will benefit. Just folks looking for free stuff.

Which I'm woefully short of these days.

But that also prompted a web search, and that revealed that the operator who took me off the her page also administrates a similar subscription arrangement for her horoscopes, at the tune of $25 for 5 months. $5 per month, $1.25 per week. works derived from similar data that I do, has a different spin, and is obviously trying to monetize something that's been freely available for a while.

I've been following my own advice about what to do and what not to do, and I've sat on my hands, so far.

The reason I looked back at ten years' of web work was to get a point across to myself, time, patience, and hard work will succeed. Eventually. Triumph? I don't know.

Funny point, to me, is that this is all cyclical. I know it happened last December, and the December before that. Happens to me. Write it off to seasonal affect disorder - long winter nights - not enough time outside, with no hope of hitting the trail anytime too soon, or holiday madness. Or something.

I've got two weeks' left of scopes to turn out before I can wrap this year. With small, loyal subscriber base, that's good. But with my seasonally bad attitude, that makes it difficult to be happy and uplifting when I'm not happy and not uplifted.


Fishing off - xmas on
"The adventurous life of the angler, amidst our wild scenery, on our vast lakes and rivers, must furnish a striking contrast to the quiet loiterings of the English angler along the Trent or Dove."
Washington Irving (c. 1820) (via Well-Cast Lines

No xmas spirit, indeed.

this is why I like the inter-web: lyrics to a certain song.

Too bad I can't find it in either in a CD or on iTunes.

December 10th, 2005
Too cold to fish, but it's the last free Saturday, and even at that, it's not really a free a Saturday, as I've got to work Saturday night, but hey, a little ice fishing first thing Saturday morning? I'm there.


imageIt's not even the middle of December, and I'm already working on the "best of" themes. Best fish picture from 2005? As far I'm concerned? The purple fish.

At least, it's one of my favorite fish pictures from this last calendar year.

Overall book rankings:
But this is different, this is for cities.

A Line in the Sand:
It's a historical reference, and just straight-up facts about, as near as one can tell, about the Alamo, called A Line in the Sand.

It's the second half of the book that's more interesting, in some way, including the second battle of the Alamo, then third, fight at the turn of the last century to save he structure, and from that point on, the way certain figures have worked into popular culture. The cultural history of the history, sort of like calling the book meta-history, that's the part which I find fascinating. I can't recall ever seeing the original John Wayne film, so I guess I'll have to add that to the list of movies to watch sometime.

And for me, the cultural history is important, how the Alamo has been treated in the last hundred years, and what it means. Plus, the treatment by - here's that ugly word again - the media. Seems like Walt Disney and John Wayne got a lot of print, more mythology.

Personally, I would have enjoyed a little more depth with Houston and San Jacinto, but that's not what the book was about. "Remember the Alamo?" Who's going to forget it? Ultimately, though, the epilogue is the most rewarding. But for someone who is not both a student of history and concerned with minor academic points about Texas history, it might not be the best book.

Final thoughts:
I picked the book up some time ago, interested in history, but spending so much time in the last years between Austin, San Antonio and the Gulf, plus hitting SA once a month or more, I've developed an oblique interest in Texas culture.

What I liked, was the apparently fair treatment the popular culture got, a quick look at how movies and TV can shape what we think we know. Or how a movie can re-write history. Ask Mr. Shakespeare about his "fast and loose" history plays on that topic.

Worked in three points in this entry: bass fishing in Austin, a book about Texas history, and an allusion to some Shakespeare scholarship. Not bad for a Friday.

Cabin fever
Thursday morning, there was ice on the roads, ice on the porch, ice on the roof. Too cold to bother going outside, but I really needed some chips for a home-made frito-pie.

It's not like Texans are good drivers to begin with, add some frozen precipitation? The freeways must be like a giant "slip and slide."

Canned chili alone is such a sad state of being.

Day dreams danced in my head, and I had a thought, if I could just release a couple of bass in the Riverwalk section of the San Antonio River, then I could fish there. And, if I was making real money, I could get one of them fancy hotel rooms that overlooks the river, and just fish from the room. How cool would that be?

Must be cabin fever.



Out of tune, out of time
Generation (at sign)

Sparked by a number of items, and looking through my astrology lens, it's the "Generation (at sign)."

Boomers, X-ers, and then, the lovely "in-betweeners." And now? The (at) Generation. Log on to check to see where the party is, IM for everything. Me? I don't do IM. At all. A couple of my friends, tweeners, actually, occasionally message my phone, but more than a convenience, I find that annoying. Partly because the phone service charges a dime for every text message, and I prefer to regard a phone as an analog "talking" device. But that could be me.

IM, typing notes on a phone, and so forth? I got over that years ago, back in the day when I did that on, get this, dial-up. Had a dedicated line for the computer, even, like, a modern thing.

Now I'm old-fashioned.

It happened, right between the second and third cup of coffee, Wednesday morning. I'd been listening to some upbeat music, and I don't have clue what to call the stuff, King Sunny Ade.

Afternoon Freeze:
I'd forgotten how the world looks different from under the four-inch brim of a Peter Brothers' 5X Black Beaver (felt hat). I slammed it down on my head as I left to brave Austin's freezing rain and ambled off to meet important clients for an afternoon reading.

With a slouch hat and a long overcoat, part of the brim cocked low against the harsh north wind, I felt like Odin, wandering around, half-blind. In a cowboy hat, not to confuse mythologies.

Still, what echoes back, what I kept thinking about, is how the world looks different from under a brim like that, and how I feel sorry for folks who don't get a chance to dress like that - you just don't know what you're missing.

I get a redo
The ironing story - hint: this is not about irony. that's a different topic and behooves one to look up the meaning of the term before using it.

Anyway, TFG posits a question, and I have a a couple of funny stories about it. Ironing.

The first was a few years ago. It was what I'd call a "mid-range" hotel, and at the time, the spare phone jack over the desk was a touch of class, back when us road warriors used modem to wire up for mail and web work.


So I ambled down to the front reception area to meet a co-worker for a bit of breakfast at the ole truck stop, and another one of my friends, from Austin, temporarily bereft of her husband, catches one sight of me, forgoes breakfast and begs my shirt off my back so she can iron it. Seems I looked a little wrinkled. Looked like I just pulled it out of a suitcase. Oddly enough, I did. Being so far from home, she needed some male to dote on, and I was the target. Can't say I noticed much, but I take my casual appearance very seriously.

Another time, some how I'd left home without a second change of clothes. The person I was staying with took it upon herself to wash - and iron my precious Hawaiian shirt.

My clothes, whenever possible, should never have to suffer through the hot steel of an iron.

It's a mission statement, as much as I've got one. To be sure, in the darkest days of winter, I've got a number of nice dress shirts, usually all-cotton, with nappy little button-down collars, and I'll throw on a bolo tie to spiff it all up. Opera gear, dress-up, and the ubiquitous Uvalde Tux.

Get them shirts done at the cleaners.

Which, oddly enough, sent me on another search. This I couldn't believe, a term that wasn't on the inter-web: Your search - "Uvalde tux" - did not match any documents.

A Uvalde Tux is named for a little town in South Texas, heart of the J. Frank Brush Country. I don't even know where I picked up the moniker, but it's tux jacket and shirt, bolo or other western tie, jeans and boots. Jean have to be Levi or Wrangler. And that term didn't show up at first. Stumped 'em. Huh. And here, I thought everyone knew the term.

That publicity still is more than ten years old, but it covers the idea pretty good. My day-to-day wear, my precious and obnoxious shirts, all of that should never have contact with an iron. It's not good for the clothes. Consider it aggressively casual.

Two meat Tuesday
imageIt's really all about style. What sells, what doesn't move. What parts work, what parts don't work. I had a note for a horoscope, the bread and butter (and most volume received) for this site, and I figured that note didn't so much belong in a scope as much as a reminder to myself.

As the sage man once observed, "You don't learn anything the second time you're kicked by a mule."

"...Such inordinate and low desires,
Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts.
Such barren pleasures, rude society
As thou art matched withal and grafted to..."
Shakespeare's Henry IV, I (III.ii.12-5)

At the coffee shop:
Subtitle: I'll play.

Her: And you're an asshole in the morning, before you've had coffee.
Me: When did you wake up with me?
Her: In your dreams.
Me: I think I would remember that....
Her: (Rolling her eyes.) Everyone is an asshole before they've had their coffee.

Pesky business dealings:
This is just part of the end-of-the-year news, pesky little details like bookkeeping. Final payment to the old credit card processing service, I was with them for more than 10 years, and they still stuck it to me, especially since last summer. No fault of mine, just the increase in fraud, and basically, it's all mail-order here.

Then, in answer to the unasked question, the PayPal problem? The new payment gateway does allow for recurring charges to be set up - like subscriptions. But the minimum is $5. Plus, each monthly bill generates one hardcopy I have to file. Securely. And manually execute a batch each month. Then print receipts, and then securely file in some order? I have enough paperwork, as it is. Workload triples, and income doesn't go up?

Maybe you hate it, but for my dollars - and for that price point? I'm sticking with what I got for now. Got a better idea? Please, drop me a line, I'd love to hear it.


More end of the year material:
Numbers are not looking good. On certain occasions, I just hate computers, always there with nothing but facts.

The good news is that the skeleton for next year is locked and loaded. If I can just finish up this month's round of horoscopes...

Universal approval? Close as it gets. After that coffee shop exchange, there was another. I was walking along, a Bass Pro catalog stuck in my pocket, and an Aquarius lad does the, "Hey Kramer, I'm back in town," bit.

We paced each other and shared a little conversation, about music, art, the function and position of the artist, and odd shifts at the coffee shop, where I see him from time to time.

What's funny?
Like many, I didn't have anything to write about today.

Odd bits of Mars (influences)
"Foul-spoken coward that thund'rest with thy tongue
And thy with thy weapon nothing dar'st perform."
from Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (II.i.58-9)

From the November log files:
Number of hits: 3412
percentage of traffic: 0.53%
referring URL: http://www.horoscopes4u.com/weekly.html

Or, as one character used to say, "Just the facts, ma'am."

Quick road trip
Quick shopping. Quick sight-seeing. Quick business.

Back in Austin. The cold weather hit with a vengeance.

On my way through SA, had to stop for Xmas shopping at the Apple Store. Almost like I'm doing this once a year now, a picture of me at their "genius" bar. In a hat:

From: tarotgal@hotmail.com
Date: December 3, 2005 7:36:33 AM CST

hi, i had to remove you from my "weekly horoscope" list

i've had some emails regarding your horoscopes requiring a fee now.

but i do have a sponsorship spot in the "top 20" for 2006 available, it is $25 a month, you get your listing on the high-traffic daily horoscope page (http://www.horoscopes4u.com/daily.html), a star by your listing, and can word it as you choose.

i accept paypal ($300 total) and all my current sponsors pay for the year in advance, i am booked until 2007. i have one spot left, #20. it is well worth the price, you can advertise whatever you want. let me know if you are interested.

sincerely, kim kucera (paypal: tarotgal@hotmail.com)

Just road images.

Rode down to SA
Couple of friends were heading down to SA, and so I hitched a ride. Unbeknownst to me, though, there were complications.

See, my fishing buddy was just pulling into town from a week away - for work. So it was his sweet and darling wife, and rather than just pick me after she fetched him up a the airport, I was first on schedule. And since San Antonio has two (fishing) lakes right there, I fully expected the wife to be driving the truck, which would be towing the boat. Through the airport pick-up lane.

First Thursday
This is about the other night, see, we stopped at TG & R, after dinner. me and a Pisces. Lottery ticket and so forth at the stop and go store.

(TG & R, is affectionately referred to by its politically incorrect moniker: Two Ghandi's and Raheem.)

Guy wanders in, tattoos crawling out from under his black t-shirt, grabbed a couple of bottles from a cooler in the store, he shivered for a moment, then looked at what was in his hand. He looked up at me.

Eyebrow, nose, lower lip thing, plus the "expanders" in his ears. Black jeans with big, black boots. Bald head, just shaved. Looked like he could be in his twenty's with up to a decade on the margin for error, either side. It was dark outside.

He looked at me, glanced down at what he had in his hand, looked back at me, and I smirked.

"I don't even want to be seen with this stuff. Now that I'm forty, I drink the good stuff. This is what I drank in high school. In fact, I'm getting this for some of the kids from work."

Pink champagne. Cheap, pink champagne.

More odd bits:
Mercury is still backwards, so it seems. Pesky planet. Although it's not my resource, seems like I'm not the only one to suffer.

I'm trying to reconstruct this from memory, and I'm not doing a very good job of it, but there were a few comments at the tail-end of a reading the other evening. The conversation was giving me rather nice feedback. Swole my little pointed head clear up to bigger'n this tiny trailer.

"You don't write that fluff, like in Cosmo, it's not like your scopes are dripping with perfume."

As usual, I tend to buck the trend, and as might be expected, given my odd style and choices, I've got a more fairly representative demographic between male and female, unlike the usual stats that suggest horoscopes are only read by women.

"I didn't like the traffic bit you did, more dirt bikes."

I'd have to agree, I didn't like it either, but I was playing with styles. So far, though, the concept of a "theme for the week"? Just an observation from my point-of-view, backed by loyal readers? Themes like that don't work. Besides I get bored about halfway through. Bored means cranky.

Brain food:
Breakfast? Coffee. Lunch was coffee, cheetos and egg nog. Then I swallowed some herbal, nutritional supplements. I wonder what happens when all that collides?

When is bad, and when is it just homage? I'm hyper aware about what's stealing, and plagiarism, and what's just borrowing.

In summation:
The Truth Will Out is a good book with a very plausible hypothesis that Sir Henry Neville was the actual author of the canon of work attributed to William Shakespeare. Shakespeare - the actor, businessman, from Stratford? He was the front for the whole shebang since Sir Henry couldn't really be associated with the theatre.

Bacon theorists, Marlowe conspiracist, classical Stratfordians, and de Vere proponents are handily addressed and debunked. The book's style is a little academic with a bajillion footnotes. But the way I read it, the evidence is entirely circumstantial, although, as presented, highly believable.

The closest the text gets to a smoking gun, is a notebook dated 1602, when Sir Henry was a political prisoner in the Tower, and a number of the passages from that notebook correspond to a play that wasn't produced until 1613, Henry VIII (All That Is True). Which was, according to current academic beliefs, co-authored with Fletcher.

The other point that hit home with me, in The Tempest, Prospero breaks his staff thereby giving up his magic. The play is generally considered Shakespeare's "good-bye" to theatre. Breaking the staff? Or the spear?

The hypothesis turns on the way the plays, in order of appearance, line up with Sir Henry's career. Plus, there's a tremendous lack of support for the Shakespeare of Stratford camp as the real author. Then, there's the ancillary support from the sonnets, and the always problematic "First Folio Dedication," and so on.

The Truth Will Out certainly dredges up some pretty interesting material as corroborating evidence. Excellent book, nay, a "must read" for Shakespeare hobbyists. or anyone deep into conspiracy theories, like, the Shakespeare authorship question.

(And possibly politically offensive - stunning satire.)

Cherchez le poisson:
Who says bass fishing and Shakespeare (the playwright) can't be combined? On another Austin afternoon, as soon the e-mail belched loudly and stopped working, I grabbed a pole, and froze my cojones off, standing there in the face of a north wind, trying something different, a smaller hook. Eventually, it paid off. Same gang as the day before, same spot, different fish. I hope. I tried to capture the reel's brand, too, a Capricorn. Just for fun.

Some things I can't explain
Holidays and dysfunctional families? Or, as Sister has implored, time and again, "[b]We[/b] put the fun in dysfunctional..."

After years of listening to people talk abut their issues, though, I've come to the conclusion that everyone has a crazy family. What is that statistic? 89% of the families are dysfunctional and the other 11% are in denial?

Yeah, sounds about right. So that's a "jette" note about the holidays.

Inbound mail:
|> On Nov 29, 2005, at 10:13 PM, you wrote:
|> You looked a little like Shakespeare in the last video.

Pure coincidence.

(Link only works with paid subscriptions - login and password required.)

Planet notes:
As I was prepping this week's column, a Dec. 1 start date, I looked over the planets' schedule. Mercury is backwards just yet, as is Mars. Turning around soon enough. But 'lo, what is that on yonder horizon? It is Venus, and she's going backwards this month.

Targeted advertising?
Got a website? Want to make money? Sign up for AdBrite advertising.

Now, the question is, why is this better than that other branded type of "smart" ads? Think about it. If I ran that other brand of advertising, the ads would all be fishing and astrology sites - competition. What I want is something that compliments the site, not throwing people off on sites that might not interest them. Or might take away possible sales from me?

Yeah, I like AdBrite, links to books. Stuff that matters. Matters to me, anyway.

More adverts:
As I was cruising along, tending to business and minding my own business, I realized with the sudden price increase at Sandy's, my monthly subscriptions now cost less than the Thursday-Saturday special.

Copyright notices:
The copyright question. Again. What I do? I put the copyright notice on my material, then, at the end of the year, put a year's worth of columns in a book and assign it an ISBN.

But so far, it hasn't been an issue with me. I don't think anyone can steal my style. I mean if I showed up someplace and didn't get paid for it, I could have a lawyer on their ass so fast it would make their heads spin. Right before the lawyer chewed them up for lunch.

Use my material directly, and receive compensation for it? I'm thinking about about a new Ranger Bass Boat I want, or Blue Wave bay boat be nice, too.

Cherchez le poisson:
Because of the planets, or because I've lost data before, I do back up. Regularly. So while I was waiting on that to happen, I flipped a worm in the lake. Missed one. Missed a second. Finally got on on about the third try. There were more, but alas, duty calls.

Requisite Firefox plug:
New version, major upgrade, they say here.

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Two-meat Tuesday
Has Hell frozen over? Is this the musical
question? "It was 26 degrees in El Paso last night," one client reported. It was below freezing here, according to what I saw. And then, there are the planets, too: Mercury and Mars, as duly noted, in disarray. The weather (and its source): I had to call back for verification, "You did say that you were making a birthday cake from scratch, right?"

It wasn't a cake for me, but that one Gemini is hooked with a Sagittarius (same birthday as mine), and she was baking. From scratch. Scary. Very scary. Then, when I realized we had a freezing band of weather, as some would suggest, hell has frozen over, or parts of Texas anyway, it's pretty clear: her, in the kitchen, being domestic.

Obviously, I isolated the cause of the cold weather. Tips for start-ups:
Nice to read Evan again.

No heading:
Stupid Men Tricks?

Search engines:
The latests and greatest?

Not sure it'll work:
But if it does? Just sort of reaffirms why Austin is a great town. Still.

This just in:
The Inter-web thing is a good place to find stuff. Stuff that matters. One of the best post-modern prologues, ever, the introduction to Trainspotting (MPAA: R for graphic heroin use and resulting depravity, strong language, sex, nudity and some violence), and I have no idea why it was running through my head. I've only seen the film once.

RENTON (voice-over)
Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers.

Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends.

Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing sprit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing you last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life.

But who would I want to do a thing like that?

I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who need reasons when you've got heroin?

(I have no earthly idea why I was looking for that, other than to remind myself to go and rent that film some time - maybe.)

Picture time:
Found just outside The Texas School for the Deaf, alas, my poor camera skills means that the backlight - what caught my eyes - doesn't really show up.

Fear and trepidation
I'm not one not be afraid of omens. But.

Stopped in Gonzales for good "migas" as a breakfast item. Waitress - a Leo - spilled ice water all over me. Or, all over my lap, as I was sitting, and it didn't get the t-shirt, just the front of my shorts. Ice water. No harm, no foul.

Then, reeling with Ron, another birthday date (to myself), coming back in on Sunday, big waves. Great trip, hit the tides right, hit the hotspots right, the catch for the day was two rat Reds, two Hard Heads, at least a half-dozen stingrays, pin perch big enough to fillet, and snapper. Snapper keepers. The boat ride back to the dock, though? Just as we turned around to head in, we were quartered by a big wave.

Soaked me, from the waist down.

I'm getting a little scared. Ron kept telling me he wanted to get me out wade fishing, too. Is this a hint?

Cherchez les poissons:
Just some birthday fish, off the pier at the motel.
image image

Birthday wishes:
|> On Nov 28, 2005, at 7:24 PM, Stephanie Stone wrote:
|> ~Stephanie, who is now off to say hello to the 12442
|> other Nov 28 birthday boys she knows.

More birthday wishes:
I just got off the phone with my sister, the usual happy birthday greetings from Gemini - land. She was all a twitter, worried about what had happened on the boat.

The details, back story, the material I usually don't print? Not unlike any other family, I just assume that my family, especially my branch of the family tree, is a little more whacked out than most. Be that as it may, I'm determined to live what's left of my life with as few regrets as possible. Like, I've been trying to figure a way to go fishing with my father.

So what I did was book a boat ride with a guide for last Friday. Skip the shopping histrionics, and get out on the water. The bay, the Texas Coastal Bend, whatever nomenclature appeals, just call it that. I like the places because even the corner convenience stores carry certain fishing tackle. Besides, my buddy once happened upon this one fishing guide who is really worth his weight in gold (or silver) spoons (fishing lures).

When he was very young, my father suffered through a bout with polio that left one leg shorter, and in general left him little weaker and as he's aged, the post-polio syndrome has caught up. Perhaps it's a genetic trait, but he's a stubborn guy at times, and he refuses to get in wheelchair, except on rare occasions. He does fatigue a little easier than a "normal" person, but at his age? I figure it's allowed.

So we set off on on an adventure Friday morning. Boat picked us up at the dock, and we had ourselves a grand morning of it, fishing and telling stories. I'd bait his hook, he'd sit there, then I'd toss his line out, then he'd reel it back in. Got a couple of pictures of him with a red fish, as I've noted, we spotted some Sandhill Cranes, saw a Whopping Crane, dolphins by the dozens, and fishing. Plus a big Red for Pa Wetzel. Biggest fish of the day. Hit not twenty feet from in front of where he was sitting, while he was casually reeling in a line with a little shrimp on it.

Bragging rights, "Oldest man in the boat gets the biggest fish."

For a birthday wish? Couldn't have asked for anything better.

Nice picture of the boat leaving the dock.

Free Coffee

It's what the sign says. Think I'll use it in a scope one day.

I did get a free cup of coffee because I had this lapel pin.

Rain day
I watched the weather and I figured on some rain, but Saturday morning, I was out on the pier, trying my hand at throwing bait in the water.

I'm still riding herd on my aging parents, but they are easier and easier and easier to manage for a resort-type holiday. Took Pa Wetzel fishing. He claimed to catch the biggest fish of the trip. He did.

One of the real boons that comes with this place, though, is the fact that cell phones don't seem to work in the rooms. Whether it is by design or by accident, it is a blessing.

Birthday pictures, from the last couple of days:

Booked a boat
Glad I did.

I was up at 5:45, with a great idea, how to fix the web site login problem, always happens when I'm away. So I made it to the dock, and Pa Wetzel caught the only keeper Red we got all day. Not that we didn't have some luck with fish, but mostly it was little rat reds. Caught a released many fish, many types, flounder, red, trout, san trout, saw a Whopping Crane, heard the Sandhills taking flight. Good day.

T-day plans
Wake up. Fish with pop. And friends. Eat fabulous food at Cheryl's.

If the weather holds, fish some more. Got a boat booked for Friday morning.

Going coastal
Birthday time. Thanksgiving. Sagittarius in the heavens.

image[/style> I'm out of here for the time being, off to the the coastal retreat and promises of tropical paradise, although, it still is hurricane season - through the end of November.

I called up the parental units, told them where I'd be, invited them to join me. And I left it at that. Stay tuned, sure to be some good times. By Wednesday afternoon? I hope to be fishing alongside the coastal bend, in the quiet and fertile backwaters by the bay.

iTunes nota bene:
So Apple's iTunes outsold some traditional sources according to a myriad of sources.

My buying style? I tend make obscure purchases online, like, from Amazon, or I'll purchase from only one or two retail store. Either locally owned Waterloo or that nice spot in Corpus Christi, which, so far, has proved to be a treasure trove. Well, really, both places are full of good stuff.

iPod notes:
I had to the little pod set to "shuffle," and I don't know how random it is, Bach, back-to-back with the Misfits and some vintage Chemical Brothers? Then it was Zappa (My guitar wants to kill your mama) followed by Hank III's "87 Southbound" followed by Nugent (I won't even admit what song it was). Three Sagittarius. In a row. What are the odds?

from SRV's Crossfire:
Tooth for tooth eye for an eye,
sell your soul just to buy buy buy
Beggin' a dollar stealin' a dime,
come on can't you see that I
I am stranded, caught in the crossfire
I am stranded, caught in the crossfire

More on them wacky planets:
Before I ever left, I was toying with an idea, came to me in the middle of a walk, what I needed to do was record a half an hour of news about what the coming year will look like. I saddled up to the microphone, set the levels, did a little intro, and then started to talk. Then I got distracted. Then I had to do something. Then I had to answer an e-mail.

I'm so used to human interaction that I can't just chatter for 30 minutes, much less 45. But I can write that material. Been meaning to post it into the scopes for the end of December. Just a short overview. It worked for me last year, and all I really care about is if it works for me.

Cherchez le poisson:
Another small Large Mouth Bass, just a Tuesday morning fish.

More from Monday
Just odds and ends, plus a fish from Austin's Town Lake. Urban fishing, that's me.

More Google pictures:
The London office?

Novel writing month:
I like this commentary, I picked up from TFG, about novel-length manuscript writing. For more than a decade now, I've been turning out a "novel-length-manuscript" at the pace of one 100,000 (plus) collection of words per year, and in the last half of that, I've nearly doubled it to 120,000 (plus) words and another 50K words in the web journal.

Mars & mercury (the planets):
Not really astrology news, but along the lines of what the planets are doing.

Coolest adverts yet:

Cherchez le poisson:
Just a morning fish, from Austin's lake, little black bass. Just a monring diversion. The bigger fellers didn't want to play.

Bait and bandwidth, script, take five:
(I really ought to put in some different music, but at the time I was messing with it, that tune appealed the most.)

(titles + music, fade in)

"Hi, my name is Kramer Wetzel, I'm the guy who writes the horoscopes called Fishing Guide to the Stars. Look: on the lake of life? We can all use a little guidance, and that's what this is all about. The title started as a joke, if you have to know the truth, but it's spun off into its own entity. Besides, in this line of work? Seems to be a lot of folks take themselves a little too serious. While I'm serious about the astrology part, the rest of it? I try to have a bit of fun.

"I started writing the scopes because no one was doing something with this genre that entertained me. It was all either too high-brow and esoteric, or the material was just canned, recycled every other week, same old cliches about 'travel, relatives and money.' Or traveling relatives with money.

"Yeah, you've read it all before.

"Click around on the website, you'll find more than a decade's worth of material, the text for a couple of books, and enough organic bovine by-product to fill a tractor-trailer. Easily.

"Why subscribe? First off, it's cheap. less than ten cents per day. Plus there are a few extra bonuses in the subscription section, like the weekly audio-visual message, I try and update every Monday. Then there's the updated scopes themselves, in their raw form, and best of all? Less than 2% advertising.

"I tend to respond to regular subscribers in more timely fashion, too, with a real answer instead of some flip remark.

"Think about it. Compare the prices. $6 a week? $29.95 a quarter? I'm a lot cheaper. but someone has to pay for the bait and bandwidth around here. The cat's certainly not pulling her weight these days.

"Thank you for your support."

(fade out)

Musical question:
Is it better to burn out or just fade away?

That's just weird.
Long day at the office.

"Si, habla engles."

Movie notes:
In the film version of my life? Who do I think would play me best?

Steve Buscemi.

"We all got dreams, you know?"

Except, I would tip the waitress, Mr. Pink.

Saturday's odd bits.
None of which make any sense, not that it ever bothered me.

The day started out with the familiar mantra, "Are you a musician?"

"No ma'am, I'm an astrologer."

That settled the price:{/i>

On Average, You Would Sell Out For


One more:
10 things you probably didn't really need to know.

One less:
Scary because I didn't realize it worked with American dollars, too.

Lights, camera, REVOLUTION!
I did three readings, in a row, and all three (four? five?) were from the "unlettered generation," not a boomer, not an X, not a Y, folks born between 1960 and 1969. Unlettered. Unremarkable except in the fact that it's a most remarkable generation. I tend to look at personalities from a historical - astrological - metaphorical point - and as such, the unlettered generation is poised to have some pretty big movement occurring in the next year. Especially my favorite, the '65-'66 grouping.

Hint: even if you don't believe in astrology - think in terms of cars... '65 Mustang? '62 Coupe de Ville?

Changes in latitudes
The Austin event this weekend, basically, the last show of the year, is "way up yonder," perhaps too close to Dallas for my tastes: North Austin. But I'm sure I'll survive an arduous journey so far north.

I remember working there, close to ten years ago, when the place was a Hilton. Same location, different name. Hope they have wireless now.

Incoming mail:
|> I finally went and downloaded the program so I can watch your
|> message as well as listen to it. 
|> I liked it, since your facial expressions and body language
|> add to the whole message an extra soupcon of meaning.
|> All you needed to finish off the image was a parrot.

Mail cycled through as I was digging in the dirty clothes to find a bandana to wear. No, see, it's not a pirate thing. It's a "keep my hair out of my face" thing. Naturally, I wouldn't worry that other people confused me for a pirate, you know, the free-spirit, the open seas, ports-o-call with wenches and saucy barrels of rum?

Wouldn't want to interfere with any misconceptions here, other than I live like a monk.

I was thinking about that bandana because I wore one the other weekend, again, a matter of convenience, not style, but I got the pirate comment then, too.

I started wearing bandanas when I was working the "psychic sweatshops," and my final arrangement was a cheap headset with about 75 feet of phone cord. Couldn't do the laundry, but I could do just about everything else while lashed to the phone. Cordless phones weren't an option at the time.

Now that it's cold out, I wear a bandana to keep the hair out of the microphone's earpiece. Earpiece's microphone. One of those.

The "psychic sweatshops" were cleaned up by the IRS, or some labor board. Or something. And I quit working them because $3.99 per minute is a little steep, especially when the other end of the deal, what I got paid, was considerably less. I found an ad, the content of the article wasn't very good, but the advertising was engaging, for a product that was made in a "100% sweat-shop free labor cooperative," or something like that. Sounds a little "left-coast-ish," but that was what the words suggested.

I admire that, and I'd like to think that this place is a sweat-shop free environment. But it's not. I need to turn the tens of thousands of regular visitors - 10% would be fine - into regular subscriptions.

Mercury notes:
I finally caved in and called tech support. I don't know how long my luck will old out, but the hosting tech support was a native English speaker, albeit yankee, but most yankees can be schmoozed with some southern charm. Not only was a problem solved - I was bumped up to 2nd level tech support, and then I was directed to another solution to a problem I didn't even have. Only took 4 hours Thursday night, and another four hours Friday morning. Plus another half-dozen calls to another tech support. Each time, native English speaker. I wonder, how long will this hold out?

The solution to the problems? What's nice about that? The problem? It wasn't my fault. Maybe that's why the tech support was so kind. I'd like to think it was my charm, tho.

Bandwidth and bait: DIY promotions (self-made advertising clip).

Unrelated, tasteless and vulgar:
But wait, it gets worse: The nice point about the Apples? Less tech support. I'm not really a prude. Or maybe I am. And the hits keep coming. Top that with bad noise, tho.

Changes in attitude
Since, ultimately, I'm responsible for my own well-being, my dubious mental health and so forth, I decided to change my attitude. I left. Tried fishing but it was just too cold, really, to sit by the edge of the lake. I took a walk, plugged in the iPod, which, according to some, means I'm cooler so I can have tattoos, shave my head, and wear super-baggy trousers. Not likely. At least, not yet. Maybe I'll get my tongue pierced? I hear it doesn't really hurt.

Some of The Misfits helped turn a three-mile into a five-mile, along with the soundtrack to Repo Man. I spent 20 minutes on the phone, outside a coffee shop, making arrangements for the upcoming holiday.

Eventually, as I was really just headed to Jo's, I stopped at Threadgill's for a late lunch. As a companion, I bought a copy of the Houston Chronicle.

Above the fold:
In banner headlines? Two stories. One, gas drops below $2 per gallon. That's news, I guess, especially in oil-dependent Houston. But the other story? A high-school coach replaced his squad with "college-age" players. Yeah, football is a serious pastime.

5-star astrology:
This is where I get going, either skip it, or prepare for a philosophical discussion about free-will versus determinism. How astrology works: the planets incline. The stars, the moon, all that stuff? It lends an indication about energy, that nebulous sensation, that "feeling" about something. The stars, the planets, the moon, sun and so on, they don't make anything happen - it's what you do with "what the good lord givved yew."

I was, at one time motivated - then sorely rebuked - by a certain cosmic breakfast pastry - our columns appeared side-by-side, and he took none to kindly to my (Texas-friendly) suggestion that I was like his southern cousin.
(What do you expect from Yankees anyway? A little social lubricant is always welcome - ask the sexiest man in the world about Texas charm. And goats.)

That astrologer, he rated each day from 1 to 10. "Going out? It's 5, staying in, it's a 7." And so on. Mostly based on the moon's position, as a daily must be, but it seemed like no day really sucked, nothing was ever below a 5. Curious. If I were a Sagittarius with a certain arrangement right now? I'd rate it about a negative 2. But for another Sagittarius, like myself? Hell yeah, today started at 1, but shot up 8 by mid-afternoon - because I made it happen.

That's the clue. The horoscope column in the Houston paper - appropriately by the funnies, which I read first - rates the days with stars. One to five stars. Sagittarius was three yesterday. No, mine started at 1 and become a stunning 7 because I took some action.

While I was walking, I thought about this some more. I remember a client getting all "Kramer made it happen - my new job" on me because I suggested she get off her ass and look for a new position. To be honest, there was a stellar hint that if she would get up, an opportunity would present itself. Which it did. I didn't make anything happen. She took some action.

Like a good fishing guide, you know, "Throw it over there, see what happens." Fish on!

There's exactly two Capricorns and one Virgo, who, no matter what I write, will always see the glass as a nearly empty. But other than them? The point is to learn how to cope with what the planets deal out.

Life's a poker game. How you play the hand you were dealt? That's up to you.

As the Grateful Dead sing, "Sometimes the cards ain't worth a dime if you don't lay them down..."

If a clever person is one who can solve a problem, then a wise person is one who can avoid that problem. Which is what I'm all about, only I prefer to think of it as me be aggressively lazy.

I felt much better after a long walk and fresh air. Would've felt even better if I was catching some fish, but I was happy with punk music and collard greens. The cold weather means shoes, and the boots gave me a blister, as I'm not used to wearing shoes again. But I wasn't bothered by the blisters, just happy I turned it into a five star day.

Shove them stars of yours someplace where it, oh, never mind.

%$&*#@!@#$!*&^%!!! (subtitle: stupid hardware)
Sub-subtitle should mention that "Mercury is up to his usual tricks." But why that would affect a server and net connection is beyond me.

Server outages, then the database wouldn't connect, and I'm too tired to deal with it. Frustrated over a number of "issues," which, oddly enough, all relate to computers.

Other stuff:
Via infobong (dot com), to University of RTF dept, a quick survey about online writers and our protective shell.

Death before decaf?
Seems so.

Think Secret:
Unverified rumors from the apple slice, Mactel 'books sooner than expected?

As long as the sun rises
And as long as the planets follow their proscribed orbits, and as long as that asteroid doesn't fall out of the sky and wipe out all electrical communication? This calendar year works out to 140,000 words. Should be available in book form soon.

Myth, mystery, and a little myth-making (uncovered):
It was first passed on to me from a learned Shakespeare professor, and I just assumed it was so, but dig a little deeper?
"A 'tradition, now often repeated as if it were fact' has it that the Merry Wives was written at the request of Queen Elizabeth. There is not a shred of evidence in favour of this 'tradition', which originated in a book by John Denis published in 1702 ... There is no real evidence for this claim..."
The Truth Will Out (page 117)

Cursory examination reveals that maybe it is a myth.

The scholarship is sound, or so it appears, and the facts support this simple hypothesis. Which is why Shakespeare study is so intriguing. Shakespeare scholarship is a virtual business entity itself.

The well-argued conclusion to Chapter 6?
"Above all, the tallying of these dates with Neville's itinerary is so extraordinary that it simply cannot be coincidental, while we know of no plausible connection with anything in the life of Shakespeare of Stratford." (page 136)

One other point, rather labored, suggests that Neville was much like the character Falstaff. Originally, Falstaff's name was Oldcastle, and that's play with words, New Ville, Old Castle, as a Ville could also refer to a castle.

Part of the way through the book, all I can say, it's a compelling case for authorship. Despite its evidence, though, it's still speculation. But the case has been carefully vetted and verified. I wonder if this book is creating a stir over yonder?

That Cancer from Lubbock, TX made note of the book. Alas, he didn't link to book itself, which, as of now, is only available through the UK.

The book is previously mentioned here, here, and first noted here.

Like I usually do, I'm going at this backwards. The book posits a thesis that that Henry Neville wrote all the "Shakespeare of Stratford" plays, and since Mr. Neville was an up and coming politician, as well as a knight of the shire, he had to be careful and not associate with them low-life theater folks. Like writers and their unseemly ilk, you know, musicians and such.

The first part of the problem is that this is all circumstantial evidence. Pretty conclusive, like, in a trial by peers, but not legal. A good lawyer, which Mr. Neville was, could poke big holes in the case. However, there's significant time-line, side-by-side, and the authors are building a strong case for Neville as Shakespeare's real muse.

The career of Neville follows an arc, and the time for the writing of the plays is accounted for, even connections between the two. It's far more compelling than either Bacon or de Vere. Circumstantial, but compelling.

cherchez l'eau de poisson:
Or the essence of fish?

Salmon - flavored - coke.

You know what's ruined the coke market? Typical dialogue:

"What do you want to drink?"


"Pepsi okay?"

But a Pepsi is a coke. Dammit.

Two meat Tuesday
From Martial's Epigrams, "Fortuna multis dat nimis, satis nulli." (Martial Epigrams, volume III, book XII, number 10)
("Fortune give too much to many, to none enough.")

I just got a email notice from the advertising system I use. Pays about ten bucks every year, which isn't a lot, but after I set it up, there wasn't a lot of work involved. Better than nothing, that's for sure, and while I find the ads distasteful, the meager income is welcome.

So the latest announcement, from that company, is that there's a new pop-up campaign running. Pays well. Nice idea. Except that I find pop-up, pop-under, and just about any other form of redirection terribly offensive.

My dad clipped and sent an article from the Wall Street Journal, and the gist of the material was about how a certain company in Redmond, WA was modifying their business models. Two avenues seem to exist for making money on the web, advertising and subscriptions.

Choice between advertising and subscriptions? Which one is better?

And in the newspaper?
Nice little clip from Houston's daily rag, about the retail giant's relative success. Rather a fair and almost balanced article. That's a real surprise.

Have to admit, I was tickled by the Mexican stand-off, the Chronicle's headline, between Mexico's Fox and Venezuela's Chavez.

Just a strange connection to something I wrote about the other day.

Cherchez les poissons:
Caught several, but one picture really didn't do justice to the brim, he was a fighter. Big fighter. Sight fishing, Tuesday morning:
Final thoughts (part 1)?
The death of the UFO? Or death by caffeine?

Final thoughts (part 2):
Catching brim and perch, even if they are big fish, relatively speaking, isn't really something one wants to be seen doing. I caught several the other morning, then I had a nature channel experience, as that one fish had hooked himself through the eye-socket. Instead of poking his eye out, I cut the line and pulled the hook through, so I had a fish dangling from my finger tips.

A great blue heron was watching me. The small fish gave a mighty heave, and he jumped out of my grasp, only to land himself in about an inch of water at the shoreline. Alive, but just flopping in the muck, not swimming away. I poked at it with my pole, trying to push it out into deeper water, to no avail. But the fish's actions caught that heron's gaze. Goes with this week's Scorpio scope. I walked away, watching the heron watch me and the fish. Gulp. That heron swallowed it whole - the fish still flopping.

Two way on Tuesday
Couple of points came up, like, what's the budget on this week's column? That's what makes it so fun: the amount spent on special effects, to bring in stunt people? Almost unlimited. Got a stunt-double limbering up to take a 3-story fall in a few minutes, just part of that unlimited budget. Might have to call in a back-up, too, if the first take doesn't look right...

"Why all the guesswork? You can see what needs to be done. If you can see the road, follow it. Cheerfully. Without turning back. If not, hold up and get the best advice you can. If anything gets in the way, forge ahead. Make good use of what you have on hand. Stick to what seems right.

Marcus Aurelius Meditations Book X, #12

Emerging patterns:
Just a quick thought, during one Pluto siege, I was trying to discern certain patterns. Then, as I got to looking at another chart with a similar set-up and subsequent denouement, I found an established pattern, as in, what someone does when times are really tough? That sets a pattern and that pattern repeats. Even when times aren't so tough. Or, there are those who take good times and make them harder on themselves. Not that I would have genetic predisposition towards that, myself - I'm much too lazy.

"I'm going to catch that train and I'll be city-bound!" (Foghat's Fool for the City)

(I was looking at the artwork for the original album cover, double-sided album jacket, that's like, 4 square feet of canvas for artwork, as opposed to maybe 4 square inches? 4 square centimeters? Of available canvas on a CD jewel-box?)

Top 20 Geek novels:
It's from some brit tabloid, but here's the list. What left me wondering, it has to do with history and all, the Brunner novels really should be required reading for geeks.

Listen up, geek boys (and girls), two of Brunner's novels should be required reading. While technically classified as "New Wave," Shockwave Rider - copyright 1975 - was the first of the proto-cyber-punk. I can't recall what the second novel was, as I don't have it in my library anymore. But there was another, equally important, geek novel like that, same author. I think.

Porous memory - bad wetware RAM - man, that's a bitch.

Cherechez le poisson:
He ain't much but then, he ain't little neither. Her, actually, I think. Probably one of the last days I'll fish barefoot and in shorts....

Final thoughts?
"The stone that is thrown up in the air is none the worse for falling down, or the better for being carried upwards."
- Marcus Aurelius Meditations Book IX, #17

Must be mostly Mercury?

Always one more
"There is often an injustice of omission as well as commission."
Marcus Aurelius Meditations Book IX, #5

"And you can also commit an injustice by doing nothing" (alternative translation).

I picked up another copy of Marcus Aurelius Meditations, the real Loeb Classical version I've wanted for some time. There went most of the profit for the trip to SA, but then, that book is an invaluable reference.

I discovered two items interest. Partially literary, partially astrological, partially punk.

In the astrology section, there was a collection of magazine-like booklets that held predictions for the coming year, per sign. Having learned more about the publishing industry than I really wanted to, I flipped open one booklet to the ISBN, copyright page. The list of copyrights stretched for more than 30 years, "(c) 1970, 1972, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1994," &c. Just as an example. Which suggests that a number of astrology books merely recycle material rather than do any kind of real work. Not terribly original, now is it?

I'm not saying every book is recycled material, but after 7 years, the moon sign combinations are all covered, usually.
Standing in line, to pay for my purchases, the girl, not in a pejorative sense, just a very young-appearing female warned that there was a "hooligan problem."

"We ran them out once, but there seems to be an infestation of hooligans."

Here was a counter clerk, complaining about those, darn meddling kids. The clerk had spiky red hair, perhaps a portion of the mane was a natural color, at least two piercings in her lower lip, and the attire under the work smock? Looked just like the all-black, chain-driven of the hooligans.

Kids these days, huh?

And when was the last time were they referred to as "hooligans"?

Did the hooligan mention that Mercury was RX in Sagittarius?

What was I thinking?
But first an Apple moment. (My personal older Apple project has died.)

More money:
I sure hope the various sales agents who set up this merchant account, I sure hope those reps don't get commission. As little service as they've provided?

San Antonio by day:
Time for that warm and fuzzy feeling?

Mexican Coke
"Can you pick me up some Mexican Coca-cola?"

Mexican cola is made from real ingredients, not just chemicals. It's not brown, fizzy water, but real cola berries, like I even know what that it, and real cane sugar.

Imagine me, from the rain station to home, trying to lug a case of bottles. Doubtful. Very doubtful. But thanks for asking.

Hows does that song go?

"I'll never be your beast of burden...."

& Dear Diary.

Money money money?
It's all about work, isn't it?

Dancing Moon in San Antonio (Universal City). Ducked out early for the holiday. Which leads to questions about laws:

Gresham's Law:
"... and the alleged originator of 'Gresham's Law', the famous economic axiom that 'bad money drives out good' -- that is, gold coins, being intrinsically valuable, will be hoarded by ordinary people of a government introduces coins made of base metal or paper money, although the phrase has wider connotations."
The Truth Will Out (page 66)

I pick up weird things in strange places. Like that comment, sort a tangent to the argument about who wrote Shakespeare. Well-put points, though, must say I admire the scholarship and general sleuthing. Thus far. But this was about money, as bad money drives out good - Gresham's Law, c.f., Quicksilver. (None of which has to do with Shakespeare.)

I hate Discover:
I've switched credit card processing companies. So Discover calls me to remind me that I only paid 57 cents for one $30 transaction, once, last August." So shouldn't I stay with them? No, for years, they billed me each month, until I got irritated and wanted to drop them. Then they dropped their fees, but it wasn't until then that they got around to acting human. By my accounting, though, I've spent more on fees with them than I ever took in. They can copulate with themselves. Preferably in the wrong orifice. In a painful manner. Without lubricant. Unless, of course, they like that. Some people do, you know.

I keep getting yanked by credit card processing companies. Even my own bank is a little leery. And me with no charge backs in the last 7 years? I reiterate my previous command.

But there is hope. Maybe the shopping cart can talk directly to the credit card processor, and I don't have to see anything but the balance sheet. Here's to dreams.

And good food:
Herbert's, in San Marcos. Blanco Cafe, downtown SA. Just to name a few that come to mind right away. Mi Tierras?

Who can resist?
Seemed like a cold morning in Austin, then, as I sat & shivered a for a few minutes, I finally peeked out the window. Looked nice enough to fish, for a few minutes. Caught a handful of perch, thinking, "Tis is like riding a moped, a lot of fun, but I'd better leave before anyone I know sees me...."
The bass were schooling and chasing shad right in front of my place, so I swapped poles for a topwater lure, something silver that rattles, shakes and sprints through the water. Couple of tentative casts, then I caught me a real fish. Not very big. Certainly feisty enough, though.

When I pulled him up, it looked like the second hook was going to catch a gill, and that's not healthy for the fish, so I was carefully trying to extract him when he gave a mighty heave. Spit me, the hook, and shook himself free. I chased him around the dock long enough to grab a picture, but the image is blurry. My bad. Good fish. He's safe, swimming again.

In our dockside tussle, the when that fish spit the hook out, I managed to embed that hook, I was trying to protect the fish, you know, conservation, and I had a bloody finger. No fish were harmed in this story, but I've got a bloody pole now. Blood on the dock. My blood. Some days? The fish win.

Dammit all:
I've still got December left to write.

Inbound mail:
>| I have become addicted to your horoscope site for some time now and
>| have decided to shell out the
>| whopping $2.95 to get your thoughts on my current
>| week instead of the usual last week insight. (Maybe
that's why it all seems so deja vu?)
>| I have had two natal charts done on little ol' me, plus a
>| personal meeting with Michael Lutin, which was the summit
>| of my astrological nirvana to this point ( room for you to
>| knock him out of first place here.) However,
>| both the written charts were
>| obviously "canned" information. If I were to plunk down,
>| what is it, $24.95?, for you to do my natal chart is it the real deal?
>| Do you do a "personalized" chart?

Nope, for $24.95, it's from a can. My can, mostly my words, my typographical mistakes, and grammar blunders, glaringly obvious, it's my work. But I won't lie, it's from a can. I answered honestly, too, instead of trying for the up-sale.

One of the points of running a subscription site is to make sure I offer enough perks to subscribers. Audio came first, then video, and when I have a chance, like the above situation, I also fire off a chart report, just to get everything covered. Well, for me? It gives me some idea of the demographics and more important, a subscriber's sign.

More in-box goodness:
|> today's gemini scope: you magnificent bastard.

I laughed.

Odds & ends:
Why I live like a monk. And we can blame the idiot box, too.

"Blasts and fogs upon thee!"
Shakespeare's King Lear Act I, scene iv, line 290.

Slate's nice plug for the new Calving & Hobbes collection.

Dietary staple.

More road tripping & one other point....
I did mention I was traveling to San Antonio for work, again? Schedule is here.

Lake Calaveras is known for its fresh water Red Fish, oddly enough. And now, too, the toilet trail.

Austin, the KKK, topical news item: Hate Texas?
It's all about marketing, and how to spin the news, right? Use what you got?

This one sort of snuck up on me, and it's an old joke, but it really applies, (warning tasteless, xenophobic humor coming up), "Yeah, I don't see any reason why gays & lesbians shouldn't be married, they can be as unhappy as the rest of us...." (I warned you.)

The statistic I saw, 14 members of the KKK showed up to protest, which, on many levels offended a great number of people, in fact 3,000 people showed up to protest the KKK.

My buddy at the cop shop said there were 50 extra officers put on. For 14 guys in sheets? That's more than three-to-one.

And that was just in Austin. I wasn't going to give this any exposure, but I have to admire the KKK marketing idea & ideals. Despite my southern heritage, I know very little about the KKK. White, pointy hats, sheets, and some joke about a burning a cross. It's topic I'm woefully ignorant about, and it's a topic that I intend to stay woefully ignorant about. I figure it's another cult, that's had a long, slow decline into oblivion. Except that marketing hype, and I have to admire that.

14 guys got 3,000 folks out to protest. Look at those numbers. I can't even do a percentage on that on that, it's past the second or third zero. 14 compared to over 3,000. It still boggles the mind.

This is in Austin, and the good lord knows we love our protests. The sad news is that the bill, amendment, or constitutional thing was passed by 3 out 4 voters. Which I found kind of weird, given that 3,000 people turned out to protest the 14 guys in sheets.

What I was mulling over, I'm far from a right wing nut job, was marketing. How the protest went, how the protest of the protest went, what the outcome was. And how those numbers turned out. Plus the reflection on the local population.

As I was walking Wednesday afternoon, I passed a dozen or more "Say 'no' to proposition 2!" signs, littering the highways and byways, stuck in front yards, along Riverside Drive, nailed to poles, just about everywhere.

The KKK - just 14 of them - had better marketing. Better strategy, too. The numbers don't lie, and neither does the vote. I don't admire hate and violence, loathe it myself, and I don't like giving them any exposure, but I had to admit, they sure had themselves a good marketing plan. Seemed to work pretty well.

Just as a sidebar, I do understand the KKK's position of hatred, and I don't approve. On top of that, I think it's too bad that the state voted against "gay marriage," but from what I've seen of heartbreak and nasty divorces, this could well be a blessing in disguise.

Just for the Scorpio scope A few visual clues?
Timing tips - when is the best day for?
This is only about astrology, but it assumes a degree of cognitive ability on the part of the reader. And it's a free bit of advice. Worth every penny, too.

The Moon cycles through an astrology sign about every two and half days. Moves pretty fast, on the cosmic scene. And as a fast player, it bears watching. I use it in astrological timing.

Void-of-Course (VoC) or that annoying shorthand, "void moon," or any number of similar terms that mean the same thing? Means that the Moon, as an astrology symbol, is not making a major angle to one of the other major luminaries in the chart, at that moment. Or, simply put, the moon isn't in position where it affects anything.

Got that? There will be a quiz, later.

The Moon has major roll in mythology. For that matter, the moon's influences are felt in something as small as a pond, although, this is best illustrated by tides in the sea and ocean. However, some large, natural lakes do have tides as well. So that's where the influence comes from.

The monthly ephemeris, posted here, (astrofish.net -> site index -> monthly ephemeris) has a table at the bottom, which shows when the Moon is Void of Course. The Moon is considered "void" until it moves into another sign, initiating new energy, bring back that spark. Imagine that, new flavor, ever 2 days or thereabouts.

A better example of how this energy works comes from my own experiences. A month or so ago, I was working at an event in El Paso. Friday in NM was busy, Saturday morning, I saw flurry of activity, but then, by my Central Time ephemeris, the moon went void-of-course. People trickled out of the event, and no new people trickled back.

Coincidentally, I'd latched onto some wandering WiFi, and that signal dropped off, too. Chatted with various liars and cheaters, but not much was happening. I'd figured this would happen, with a void moon, early in the afternoon. By my Central timing, the moon shifted at 3:12 PM. or something (I'm making that up). However, within 45 minutes of the moon shifting signs, people started to appear. There was a almost a noticeable buzz in the room, a certain feeling in the air that reflected the sign the moon had just entered. Prior to the moon's shift, I was chatting with another reader, and actually, we got caught on old business matters.

So you use the the little table and watch the sign the moon is in. It's handy reference guide for the best timing of events. As another example, I've helped pick dates and times for certain events, like incorporation and starting a new business. Two items that I have to be careful about are listed in that table, "last aspect made" and then, making sure that moon isn't VoC. It's simple stuff, really, at least, for me it's simple. Almost quotidian.

Think it's odd to use a lunar table to pick dates? Ask any guy who fishes or hunts, and he'll tell you about the solar-lunar tables, although, there's not much astrology involved in that. Or is there?

Two Meat Tuesday
Link to link lead to list of titles, and since it was at the top, the one I liked best was "abrasive mixer helper," as that's the way I feel these days. Self-employed means I've got a little devil-looking character on one shoulder, whipping me along, and that character is a little upset that I'm behind on self-appointed deadlines, and what's worse? No way to catch up between now and then. According this, though, I should be addressed as "Dear Father," and I can't even begin to fathom that idea. The honorific "Dr." & "Rev." can also be legally used, but again, that's a point I don't push too much. Makes me sound like a pompous jerk. Which might be the case, too. but frankly, I'm not entirely comfortable with kicking around those titles. Even if it is legal. That's why my self-appointed title, Fishing Guide to the Stars? That works for me.

Pursuant to yesterday's diatribe:
Newspapers are failing. See, when I started out, one goal was to get a regular publication spot. Had one, in fact, for a long run on AOL's branch. Paid well, too, until the bust. I'd be happy to get another regular publication spot, but until then, I'm still just a pokey little independent author, a single voice lost in the lake of the internet. No big corporation behind me, no one pays the bills, and it all rests squarely on my own shoulders. I can, on occasion, pass the buck to the cat, but this one? It won't work. Neither will she.

So it's a small, one-man shop. Way it is. As more than one person has pointed out, dollar-for-dollar, I'm a lot cheaper than anything else out there. Which was the point.

The chance of me landing a "newspaper" spot of some sort is limited and getting more limited by the day. The problem being, I'm too long winded, and of course, newspapers don't have spurious hotlinks that can be amusing.

The Walking Life:
Weather's been really warm lately, but those folks who seem to have a short memory, or are too immersed in national weather as opposed to the local seasonal variations? This so-called Indian Summer isn't all that unusual. It's frequently like this. The fact that there was cold snap, and I had to wear long pants, jeans really, one day is just an oddity. The breaking point, for those with short memory, is usually Halloween.

This isn't the latest time I've been in Barton Springs and shortly thereafter, we were breaking ice off the boat's cover for cold fish.

But walking is a lifestyle choice.

At least in theory, in some major metropolitan centers, since I just read a book set in New York, I'm thinking of that example, maybe it's less of lifestyle choice and more a way of life, but where I am these days? Lifestyle choice.

Supposedly, it's good for cardiac care. I wouldn't know, more than one has suggested I don't have heart. Which why I live like a monk. but the walking life is a conscious decision, a way, a path to follow.

And the beat goes on.

But which ones?
Article was about the best 50 indie films ever made.

Saw both of these, agreed.
Saw both of these, and have to agree with their rankings, too.
I'd go with the first, not the second. Maybe it was too arty for my tastes.
Dark Star, sure.
Can't imagine that "Lost in Translation" has indie cred. but Drugstore sure does.
Reviewed and interviewed Roger. Still not impressed.
Two more local films, back to back. Lone Star is great. never saw Slacker, but it's got indie cred. For sure. Dude.
Memento, saw it.
Saw Spike's, anyway.
Life of Bryan. Sure.
I'd put this one up there, just not #1.
Weighs in at #4, but I'd put "Clerks" at the top of the indie stack.

Might just be me, though, and I'm not a critic. Anymore.

From the "you must be kidding" file:
Home for sale. Bride included. Brings new meaning to bride price, I'd hazard a guess.

Cherechez le petite poisson: Picture doesn't do this one justice. Caught a bunch like this, but he was big for a small fish. Only reason this one's remembered? It was like, bigger than the ones that guy had the lake the other afternoon. Not much to be proud of, but better than nothing.

Monday's news & blues
Just a couple of points, really nothing to terribly exciting. Plus, of course, a fish from the dock here.

Inbound mail:
|> Re: Disappointed
|> On Nov 7, 2005, at 11:15 AM, shannonrl@aol.com wrote:
|> Just wanted to express my deep disappointment that you're going fully commercial. 
|> I know you gotta live, but I'm sorry that it's at my expense. . . or not.

This one really bothered me, for some unknown reason. Hit me wrong, I guess. I was working on some upcoming stuff when this cycled through and it broke my concentration. Stopped the Monday morning good mood.

I fired back a quick, "if you've got a better idea, I'd love to hear it" note, then let it go. Except that it still bothered me. Fully commercial? The site's been on a subscription basis since '03 or so. Matter of fact, since its inception, in 1994, the purpose was to sell astrological reports. A fun (for me) business venture. Fully commercial? That's all it's ever been.

So, for free, this represents someone burning bandwidth - in other words, I'm paying for this person to read my site. Possibly listen to the pod-casts, a substantial portion of the bandwidth these days, for free. 

It hurts.

I'm a little disappointed that the author of the email hasn't caught onto the fact that the scopes are one week behind, in the free section. Not a very careful reader, then, and as such, maybe this isn't a loss for me.

The cost for a subscription is $2.95. If that's too high? Maybe the time spent reading free horoscopes would be better spent looking for a job.

This is not good customer service wherein I should approach each email like this as an opportunity for a sale. But I'm kind of tired of paying for other folks amusements.

I've learned what works best is to vote with one's pocketbook. Seems to carry the loudest voice.

Good thing I'm not bitter. Or anything.

The Truth Will Out:
The Truth Will Out has a forward by Mark Rylance, the creative director of Shakespeare's Globe, and just reading the forward, before I knew who it was written by, warmed me to the book that will follow.

"Theatre artists hide themselves to reveal themselves. We use an indirect communication in order to be direct. We speak or write through the mask of a character in an imagined situation. We, ourselves, appear to be at a remove, while actually sharing the most intimate secrets and fears and foolish behaviour imaginable. We pretend to be someone else in order to be ourselves."
Mark Rylance, in the foreword to The Truth Will Out (London, UK: 2005. page ix)

I've seen Mr. Rylance prance across the stage as an ineffectual king, in Richard II. I've heard Rylance talk, pitching Shakespeare's Globe (trust) on more than one occasion. He's an enigmatic speaker, and a damn fine actor, in and of his own right. Capricorn, too. Not that it matters.

What always caught my attention, when he was speaking, or when he was acting, is that he seems to have a genuine love for the material. Hence, finding his opening comments in the foreword tickled me, and just that short paragraph? It should demonstrate that zeal.

The Shakespeare question of authorship? I'm not about to touch that one. But it's an interesting idea, novel thesis.

Theater of the absurd?

Cherchez le poisson:
Gaping maw of a small Large Mouth Bass, from Monday morning.

Random austin bits from Sunday
Seems like adding video, even in short format, was worth it. Looks like it will get even easier in the next year, at least for my hardware platforms.

"Video" pod-cast:
It's live and it works. first one was a chore, too way too much time to master up 3 minutes of coherent video, but after this, I can expect to turn it out on a regular basis. Almost fun, even.

Then, some days...
Nothing seems related. Just odd bits gathered around and plugged in together.

This explains a lot, I'm guessing.

Another question answered? (Had to look it up, my original proposition was here)

Sports? I can't answer. But some of the other side attractions? Near misses.

Austin afternoon images:
Fried turkey?
I guess I shold order the tea?

I was getting out of the truck, grabbing my poles, adjusting left-over brisket, and doing the fond farewell act. Noonish on Saturday.

The remark was addressed to me and the cat.

Started long before the winter's sun was up.

"Here it is, the first weekend in November, and you're wearing shorts?"

Been nice and warm lately, and seemed like the thing to do. The old bank building was reading 68 degrees. Kind of a special weekend, too - first weekend of dear season.

Fished, had a blast, got a picture.

Flat Crazy & fishing
Flat Crazy is another one of them "Blanco County" mysteries. I was introduced to the author at another guy's book signing, and I was impressed with the first novel, but I never really figured the material would translate well outside of Texas. However, and I'm not very far into the novel, any body who can combine "Asian-Midget-Porn" and Chupacabra, in a single tale, and I don't even have a clue how this is going to end up, but just those two elements, plus a healthy dose of murder, mayhem, and cedar-choppers, it can't be all bad.

Bone Dry and Buck Fever are the earlier works I've read. To me, seemed like those were striving too hard to tread a line between people like Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, and Tim Dorsey, sort of a Hill Country version of those Florida wacko-creime-thriller authors.

Flat Crazy is different, at least, to me it is. THe pacing is better. The crafting of the novel is better. It's just a thriller with death, destruction and mayhem, and the usual jabs at Austin, not that it matters, and the cast of characters has become more thoroughly entertaining.

Tight pacing. Excellent plot, but at the halfway point, I'm not sure it can be neatly wrapped up.

New! Experimental!
Regular astrofish.net subscribers just got a new feature: Video-pod-cast.

Here's what's curious, it's actually a smaller file than the mp3 weekly audio file.

And more than anything, it comes from just jacking around on a Friday evening, trying to wear myself out so I can go to bed early so I can get up early. Only took a couple of hours and minor rearranging of camera and desk, and wires. some day, I hope, I'll feature the cat, too.

Reminds me of another feature, I'd like to think I pioneered, back in the days of dial-up access speeds: live web cam during the then weekly online chat sessions, sponsored by my former syndicate. Yeppers, I was a first.

Fishing on Saturday:
Up and out early. Off to the lake.

Sure Happy It's Thursday
And the numbers just keep rolling in. Wished more folks bought stuff here. Or here. Or even here. Or, at the very least, buy it on on eBay.

Fish and the city:
Oh never mind, it was a nice title, I thought. But nothing happened. Maybe a visual, with some glamorous stars would help. Urban fishing is weird, anyway.

True love (part one):
Subtitle: Who says money can't buy love?

Lower Congress Avenue was, at one time a highway that ran south to San Antonio, the birthplace of Texas. Then it became a place for shops and neighborhoods, and then it became weird, and then it went downhill, figuratively speaking, and then it got "reborn." I had a to meet a client at a swanky, upscale place. Swanky, upscale client, too. So I wandered uphill, and one point in its checkered history, this was the place to "buy love." Lower Congress has cleaned up its act, and the rents have skyrocketed, I'm guessing, as the number of specialty boutiques moved in to replace the old, less special (and less expensive) stores.

All is not lost, however. I wasn't much thinking about any of this, as I had to dash up the hill, only to find the client running late, then me with a few extra minutes, so I kept on walking and fetched up a lottery ticket from the convenience store. Back to wait on the client, stepping outside to call on the cell phone, yes, on the way, and then I found it.

True love, like a long-lost lover I'd given up hope of ever seeing, ever again, there she was.

Across the street from the legendary Continental Club.

Sitting curbside.

For sale:

Shiny black, Coupe de Ville. Two doors. Seats two people comfortably. Maybe three, if they're friendly, in the front seat. Back seat might hold one person, stretched out.

Fortunately, I was not visibly aroused, but for one moment, for that time it took me to take the pictures, I was in the presence of my one, true love. 1964 Coupe de Ville. Black. Two door hardtop. Style. Class. Sleek, classic lines like, better than, a supermodel. Just enough fins to assert themselves. Understated elegance.

(Quick specs page)

And that leads to a 26 gallon gas tank? At $3.09? That's more than $80 to fill up. 429 Cubic inch V-8? Doesn't that make anyone's heart throb anymore? Environment be damned, this is about making a statement.

That's what's wrong, no sense of style these days.

I also don't have spare $6K lying around, so buy my true love is out of the question. Plus, it was obvious that the interior needed some attention, and the price, in Y2K5 dollars was almost the same as 1964 price. I suppose that speaks to holding value. Probably could use some work, too. But damn, she was a pretty one, "Once you go black, you never go back," right?

Elegance, style, class, and probably a single-piece steering assembly that would skewer a driver. But in a car like that? Who could get close? The stuff dreams are made of.

The price of print:
Two-Meat Tuesday is still around online. I'm completely out of copies, and I doubt I'll order any more. Plus, I'll be the first to argue that the price of my printed material is too steep. But this is a function of the method of delivery, and it includes all the layers in between. Funny price point between Amazon and the self-publish empire, too.

From my point of view, I figure that either of those two books should run, at the very most, about five or six dollars, and even that price point is pushing it a bit. However, I don't set the prices, they are almost arbitrarily adjusted by points long-past my control. Just the way it goes. As far as Amazon goes? I make pennies on sale, not figuratively, but literally. however, some folks only buy from Amazon, so there's that.

True love (part two):
Subtitle: the perfect mix
When Amy's opened up across the street from Jo's, there was much rejoicing. Goodness and light was spread throughout the surrounding hoods. For years, the little Cuban Barista (Gemini)at the old Ruta Maya held the number one spot for best combination of coffee and ice cream, only to be topped, back about two-three years ago, by the Virgo at the Hideout. In the past few years, though, I've opted for just vainly trying to get the right combination, Amy's Mexican Vanilla & Jo's espresso.

In the past, what with me living on the Jo's side of the street, I've always started with a double, or occasionally, a triple shot of espresso then waddled across the busy street for the ice cream. Sometimes, the scooper looks around, and just dumps it in the cup, per my request. So what I've wound up with is an espresso "float," of sorts.

But I had an idea, tip of the hat to the Leo scope, and I collected ice cream first, then played dodge getting across the street, for Jo's. (Leo scooper at Amy's, with a Libra in the background mewing and caterwauling when I suggested Leo is the best sign. As if there was any other.)

Aquarius and Scorpio, Aquarius handling the money and handing me a cup into which I dumped the ice cream, then the Scorpio pouring the (double packed) espresso on top.

"Dude, that's, like, going to melt it."

That's the point. So it's medium ice cream, in large cup, minus two bites, with a double shot of Jo's espresso on top. perfect blend.

What's left over, is rich, creamy elixir, redolent with the fragrance of heart vanilla and the nutty, chocolate overtones of the rich espresso, completely bereft of its usual edge. Then, at the halfway point, there's this little dollop of ice cream, just tiny, not even bite-sized, and it's got little flecks of Mexican Vanilla plus stray bits of coffee grounds.

Love, true love.

Fear factors
I got done with a birthday reading, the sun was high overhead. I cut down to the train track that parallels the creek, putatively the Bouldin Green Belt, and I followed the tracks downtown. I crossed one bridge, high above the noon day traffic on Barton Springs Road, but when I came to that long span that crosses the river itself, I hesitated.

The railroad company has numerous signs that warn against trespassing. Which, to a guy like me, only serve as an open invitation. Sure would've made my walk shorter, but alas, I thought back to the stars and Mars, and where they all are.

Heeding my own advice, I slid down to the sidewalk and I continued on like a regular pedestrian. Stopped at the office supply store and purchased more ink for the ink-jet, thinking, "Free printer, my (anatomical part) - they get us every time we buy ink more ink."

But I didn't face my fear and walk across the railroad bridge. Be my luck a train would happen by at that very moment, and I'm not jumping. No way.

Standing Waves:
Memory, something New Wave? I don't recall. But all I could find was physics.

There's a show coming up, one that sounded interesting, The English Beat, with a special guest "The Standing Waves." I couldn't place the band's name, but I think it's supposed to filed next "The Big Boys."

Or I could be way wrong. Not that it matters.

A little Shakespeare notation:
"Away, you scullion! You rampallian!
You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.
Shakespeare's Henry IV, part ii (II.i.56-7)

Falstaff's page, to an inn-keeper's hostess, who is trying to get Falstaff to pay his tab.

Canadian clip:
A short article about a proposed telescope. About two-thirds of the way through the article, it mentions something of interest to me.

Thanks buddy:
You're the second real Texan to recommend this book to me. Probably should've bought it instead of printer ink saved me some money.

Two meat Tuesday Couple of items, I'm sure, and at least one from the "you've got to be kidding me, this is spam, right?" department.

>|On Nov 1, 2005, at 10:56 AM, (blank) wrote:
>|I have a client who's working on a new project and
>|would be interested in purchasing your domain name,
>|Would you be willing to sell?
>|Please reply with any interest at your earliest

One: I think it's spam, UCE, or some similar and related kind of crap. And two; of course I would sell. But at what price?

On chocolate:
First, a primer. Then? On to Austin's own source.

I knew it had to happen:
I've had an idea, a plot element, and I think I've even worked it into a scope at one time, but I can't recall. But as an addendum, someone made a site that does what the store was going to do - without the stone cutters and dust.

What really happens?
The way the trains work around here? Freight tends to add delays to the regular passenger schedule, which, oddly enough, only runs once a day. But it's a good ride, unless I get a little too much time on my hands, and I had this one image left on the camera from SA, which got my thinking...

Not unlike some friends of mine, my mind is a dangerous place to wander, alone, unarmed, and after dark. It's like a bad neighborhood....

Gave way to this:

Second Part? K.S.A.L.
The first part was just the pictures. I'd read the somewhat limited press material, and, for some reason, the idea of a parade on the river, with macabre overtones thrilled me. Seemed like a worthy road trip.

The Austin slogan, now a trademarked moniker, is "Keep Austin Weird." As if that's any kind of a challenge. The flips side is "Keep San Antonio Lame."

Must admit, the town does like any excuse to drink.

"Why wasn't there more press about this?" I asked.

"Like, it's San Antonio, you know, any excuse for a party, right? Besides, like, last year? There were only about five boats that just keep going around and around. But, any reason to drink is okay with us."

So it was just a few river boats, decked it in marginally Halloween looking outfits, and the one with the drums in the front, a rather tribal rhythm that had the three or four scantily-clad young girls dancing, on the front of the boat.

The little water nymphs are just barely visible in one picture.

Weather was just turning "cold,"at least, cold by my standards. Cold front ripped through, dropped rain and then the high, clear, really cold weather hit.

Halloween, it's a time of change. Plus, as All Saints Day, leading into Day of the Dead, it's time to remember where we've been. And it's Lyle Lovett's birthday around now.

"If I had a boat, I'd go out on the ocean, and if I had a pony, I'd ride him on my boat...."

(Lyle Lovett -"If I had a Boat")

"If I were Roy Rogers, I'd sure enough be single... I couldn't bring myself to marry..."

"Kemosabe, Kiss my ass I've bought a boat, I'm going out to sea..."

"If I had a boat, I'd go out on the ocean, and if I had a pony, I'd ride him on my boat...."

"To watch the courses of the star as if you revolved with them. To keep constantly in mind how the elements alter into one another. Thoughts like this wash off the mud of life below."
Marcus Aurelius: Meditations (Book VII, chapter 47)

"Without love, where would you be now?"

"The Illinois Central and Southern Central freight, got to keep on pushing mama, know they're running late..."

"The pistons keep on turning, and the wheels go round and round. And the steel rails are cold and hard."

(It's a good train song - where I'm writing from - commuter special.)

"Hello, hello, hello, hell no..."
(Smells like Teen Spirit, as some would say, Nirvana.)

Two part harmony
first part, just the pictures:

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Things on the road
Part one-thousand, eleven?

But not like that.
It's family time, like, well, like fishing bacon bits and ham hocks out of the beans to make the dish vegan-friendly

"Got wood?" She asked, as Sister headed outside to the wood pile.

"Soil patterns change. Every 50 years." Pa Wetzel. But wait, there's more! Much, much more!

Sister: Mom has a lot of guilt

Me: and you mine that guilt....

Sister: yeah. It's not a bad thing. I mean, where do you think I learned it?

More oddity
Just bits, gathered else where. Headline grabber:
Zombies are among us! it said. The Cure: Oh this is good, a cure for the Cure? Why am I smiling at 7:35 AM? It's a musical question in Spanish (with subtitles). Sister: She had to read the scopes, out loud, with her own inflections.

Then, the tomatoes. On the counter. At home. I'm unsure of the origins, but there are two things that money can't buy:

Quick road trip
Off to Big D for an overnight, the folks are back in town, Sister is - allegedly - winging in for the Scorpio's b-day.
Blame Jimmy: "What kind of flower is it?"
"Red one," I answered. But in my mind - and I don't care if I'm wrong, I'm inclined to blame Jimmy Buffett (Capricorn) for the Grateful Dead's Scarlet Begonias stuck in my head. I took, like, about 50 pictures on the trail. One image turned out well, a scarlet begonia. Rigors of the road: So it's up to Dallas on Saturday, argue with Sister about who gets the single guest bedroom, then back to Austin, connect on through to San Antonio, and head down there for dinner. Then, the plan, Monday night, the Riverwalk's Coffin Parade. Finally, back to Austin. I'm looking forward to missing Austin's weirdness on Halloween.

Three days, three cities. Whew. Perspectives: Link to a scan of a 1942 Army Manual about Iraq.

"Don't discuss religion or politics." Only leaves BBQ, and they don't eat pork, what's life without pork ribs? That only leaves brisket and coffee, right? Granted, Arabica is the main coffee bean. Stargazing:
Venus & Mars will be all right tonight. Next week's audio file deals with the relative phase of the moon, too, so that part of the situation. Binded me with...

Note to self:
Give Saturn five (5) degrees. Like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, or whatever that was, Saturn needs five degrees, not the usual 1 or 2 used in strict, structuralist astrology.

And if this note makes no sense, don't worry, it's intended as a personal, professional note to myself. I just had to type it out so I could remember it, "give Saturn five degrees."

Cherchez les poissons:
No bass today. Just little perch. Except, one was big, but still, no bass.

Grendel & Town Lake Bass
I found several late-blooming flowers in the wan afternoon light. Here's a little tea rose, out of several dozen images, only about two turned out decent - the devil was beating his wife at the moment I was trying to take pictures, in front of a little garden. There's two or three flowering plants that I can't identify, and every picture, thus far, has been blurry. Or just "not quite right." Not that it's ever bothered me.

Books (redux):
Some years ago, after hearing much critical praise for it, I picked up this copy of Beowulf. Been meaning to get around to it, and after the movie, The 13th Warrior, I picked up my copy of the text, for one more read. (I can't find my copy of Eaters of the Dead - must've loaned it out - never mind.). Norse mythology and Old English.

That Seamus Heaney edition is listed as a "bilingual" with Old English on the obverse page and the translated poem on the right-hand page.

As I was digging through the introduction, I find figurative bread crumbs, pencil marks where I underlined passages - with no notation - and I wonder, "What was I thinking?"

It seems to be a fast read, and I'm enjoying it ever so much more than I did as an undergraduate. I was wondering why the sword and sorcery folks never embraced this material - source material for all the fantasies.

"They are fatherless creatures
and their whole ancestry is hidden in a past
of demons and ghosts. They dwell apart
among the wolves on the hills, on the windswept crags
and treacherous keshes, where cold streams
pour down the mountain and disappear
under mists and moorland." (lines 1355-61)

Brief quote, describing Grendel & mom.

Cherchez les poissons:
Different spots, different fish, same school. What was fun, on Thursday morning? I got to play those fish a little. It's like that image of the big mouth bass with a lure, jumping up out of the water, surrounded by a cascading splash of the lake. Like on TV. Only, in my case? Like in miniature. The slightly larger one was deep, maybe 8 feet or more, and the smaller one was shallow, just below the surface as the water was rising, schooling along the point. I had two more like that small one, but they got away.

Odd bits again
Nothing seems to make sense. I took a short hike and then stretched it out longer, just to amuse myself because the fall weather in Austin has been so nice. Some days have a coherent narrative thread, and then some days, when Mars is backwards? It all comes unraveled.

Previously noted:
Video on a computer means? iPorn? Fight back with coffee cups?

Beat Books:
I've been savoring the flavor of No Country For Old Men because I like the way the story is being told. All I can do is recommend the book.

I have first-hand experience with its milieu, the world in which the novel is set. I haven't encountered any novel that has captured the cadence of speech so well since reading vintage McMurty. And even that comparison really isn't valid because the two have rather different styles. But that being said, what excited me was the way the language was crafted, the precision used in capturing a cadence that, because I've been there, I can safely assure what is real.

I think it was a McMurty novel that drove me home to Texas, and from there, I started on this leg of the journey, where I get to travel parts of the Texas trail.

I was working with upcoming material, and needed a bathroom break. No new magazines (fishing and literature) so I grabbed the novel I was reading. I only read about two pages, but I was overwhelmed, again, by the language. Or maybe it was some other biological function, but I'd like to think it was the book.

I finally finished it late the other evening. Surprised me, but then again, it didn't. A rather mature and muscular novel, with just hint casual and causal sentiment buried beneath its surface. Plus there's always that elegiac tone to the author's work.

One lit professor I had studied with suggested that most authors tell the same story, over and over. Plot, action, setting, that all changes, but inherently, the same tale, over and over. I couldn't see the Border Trilogy in it, but there was an echo of his Blood Meridian.

Life's a beach:
There are some days, and one line out of the No Country For Old Men text reminded me about this, some tidbit that borders on the absurd.

Two meat Tuesday
image[/style> I can't recall the source for the link, but a couple items about this one motorcycle accessories business and site got my attention. It's green, it's located in the Panhandle of Texas. And the site's got a refreshing attitude. Goes back to my motorcycle roots, but alas, after too much consideration, I still won't throw a leg back over a bike - some activities are best left for younger, more aware individuals. I can blame the stars, while I relish the thrill, my inherent lack of stability really does speak about me not belonging on a scooter. The other point is polite debate about BBQ.

Willie's Bio-diesel. Hybrid cars - my whole family has 'em. Any number of items that suggest "green." Personally, I tend towards public transportation, when I can. I was intrigued, from digging around on that motorcycle supply site to find that the owner was nothing more than a typical West Texas oil-field worker, who took it upon himself to turn a passion into a business.

The green part came later, but it's not unheard of.

About the BBQ:
There's a typical Austin BBQ place, literally, right around the corner. On a summer's afternoon, I'm more than tolerated, even greeted, even though I stink like I've been swimming in the creek, which, in warmer weather, is a frequent occurrence. I titled a book after the Tuesday special, even.

Politics, religion and BBQ are the most hotly debated topic in Texas. Of the three, BBQ is the most important. Good Q is a better than manna from heaven. That one place? Oddly enough, at least lately, it's been the pork ribs that are the best. But the "two-meat" moniker drives from the idea that there's usually one item, like life, that stands out on any given day, and one should never bet that both will be outstanding. For me, that one place is close and convenient. That's it.

I have, however, on occasion, enjoyed "transcendental BBQ," be it the pork ribs, the brisket or perhaps something else. I tend to stick with basics because dependable is important. Then again, while I don't figure that one place has the greatest BBQ in the world, I never realized how it was "passing good" as compared with other spots.

To wit, there's a chain BBQ place in El Paso, the owners are friends of friends. Package deal, rent a big box location, buy the package, and soon you're in business as a funky and charming home-style BBQ place. Part of the package includes a number of pictures of "famous" BBQ places. Oddly enough, just geographical coincidence, I'm sure, all of those "legendary" locations seemed West of the Mississippi - mostly in Texas. Just odd luck, I'm sure.

I've been to a number of them. Plus there are few I figure should be added. Then again, a number of the spots are now chains. Like Sonny's in the Dallas area. Or Bill Miller's and Rudy's, both from SA.

As far the chains go? Rudy's is pretty good, and I have made the pilgrimage to the Leon Springs location.

Plus, to talk BBQ, one must invoke Lockhart, TX, with a triumvirate (now a quadriplicity) of "oldest in Texas" places. Oldest in one location, oldest in the family, oldest in name, and a newcomer who's pretty good.

And that's just the tip of the BBQ trail, as it winds to Driftwood, out to Blanco, and even through the mean streets of Austin itself, with more than one legerdemain place here, Artz, Stubbs, Ruby's, Iron Works, just to name a few within walking distance.

One place had some of the best PR, and I've noted this before, they called themselves "the second-best BBQ in Texas." Good catch-all phrase. Leaves number one open for interpretation while firmly cementing that number two spot.

I have discovered places that help me, though. I've had bad BBQ in number of places. In Texas, no less. Not that it matters. That one place I tend to frequent? While it might not be the best, as I've discovered, being right in my backyard, it's good enough.

I'm not sure what the point was, as I've forgotten now. But I hit on another idea, "All I need to know in life I learned from (Texas) BBQ," perfect title for a book.

Morning fish
Cherchez les poissons:

Just a pair of small bass from the lake, what was driving me nuts, in as much as I'd let qa fish drive me crazy, was that I couuld see a number of larger targets, but I was unable to attract their attention.

Nice nod:
Just a quick tip of the hat to OK.

Better yet, in Chaucer's Middle English?

Waiting on the cold front
It's a lyric, from the "Bolsa de Aqua" CD, by the Gourds. Something about eating chicken off the bone. I wandered off to the train station in shorts. And I'm thinking, just for the sake of entertainment, the "Coffin Parade," in the river, next week.

"So I had to check out the Alamo," one guy said, obvious Latino accent.

"But aren't you Mexican?" his traveling companion asked.

"Yeah," the first answered, that hispanic lilt to his speech pattern, "Mexican-American. My dad was born in Austin, My family lives in San Antonio, now, my grandmother, she was born in Mexico..."

Musical punctuation:
"And the sounds of trains only remain in the memories of the ones like me..."
(Lyle Lovett singing Steve Fromholz' epic Texas Trilogy)

(But I wasn't wearing my long pants hence the cold front reference.)

"Down around the corner, half a mile from here, see the long trains running and watch them disappear..."

China Grove. The Alamo. Helotes. Gruene. Seems to me, despite my personal prejudice, that San Antonio is home to more arts than Austin. And no one ever says, "Keep Austin Lame."

"The pistons keep on turning and the wheels go round and round...."

Paranoid (Black Sabbath) was playing as the train was leaving San Antonio. The conductor wore black (passed through Alejandro Escoveda's home town, Rank & File) and the subtle juxtaposition of it all was lost.

New ad: "When a grown man lives at home with his mom? Pathetic. But when a grown man lives at home with his dead mom? Classic."

Billy Joe Shaver singing, "That's why the man in black sings the blues"

Dancing Moon (editorial note to self: where was I going with all this?)

Despite two books, I always rebound back to Marcus Aurelius for reference and inspiration.

"Not to support this side or that in chariot racing, this fighter or that in games. To put up with discomfort and not make demands. To do my own work and mind my own business, and have no time for slanderers." (Book I, chapter 5)

"When you deal with irrational animals, with things and circumstances, be generous and straightforward. You are rational; they are not. When dealing with fellow human beings, behave as one. They share in the logos. and invoke the gods regardless.
"Don't worry about how long you'll go on doing this.
"A single afternoon would be enough." (Book VI, chapter 23)

"Socrates used to call the popular beliefs 'the monsters under the bed' - only useful for frightening children with." (Book 11, chapter 23)

Rerun: classic rock:
Artist: The Outlaws
Title: Green Grass and High Tides

"In a place you only dream of, where your soul is always free
Silver stages, golden curtains, filled my head plain as could be
As a rainbow grew around the sun, all the stars I've loved, who died
Came from somewhere beyond the scene you see, these lovely people played just for me"

Gratuitous Apple links:
For the iPod Video, and note, why didn't I think of this?

Then, of course, news about that lawsuit.

Faded glory
It's a star, the Lone Star, and it's faded, weather-beaten. Used to be a symbol of greatness, and these days? Corrupt politicians.

When I was in El Paso, one of Grace's kids made some comment about how, "Austin is too Texan." It was a not a so-veiled reference to the Lone Star, the art and architecture that abounds.

San Antonio, likewise, the cradle for democracy in Texas, the birthplace, as it were, right? Staying a couple of blocks from the Alamo, it's sort of hard to miss. I'm used to it, sort of like a dull background noise that always makes itself heard, the Lone Star emblem is just about everywhere.

But like that one image that depicts a symbol, a little battered, could use some paint, needs to be freshened up? The Lone Star image has been battered a bit too much, as of late. Between two well-known politicians with obvious Texas roots, the conclusion is that all politicians, and by extension, the people represented, we're all crooked. I've joked about it, but I'm sure everyone has a price, but then, this is Texas, and we do just about everything in a big way. You find one of us who's given in to the "dark side," and there will be a person in league with the devil himself.

There was a time when the good guys wore white cowboy hats and the bad guys wore black ones. And those good guys would use civility and charm first, and only when that didn't work, would the good guys resort to violence. And even then, it was only to serve the greater good.

These days, "cowboy-ism" is a nasty term. Denotes something less than wonderful. Not a good quality.

That battered image* of a Lone Star? That's a symbol to me, a single, shining point wherein we're the good guys, on the side of what is right and moral.

Your mileage may, of course, vary from what the advertisement suggests.

*Image is a from Austin's South First Street Bridge, the Drake Bridge that spans a huge chasm, North Austin to South Austin.

Do you ever wonder
Ever wonder if something is targeted, like specifically, at yourself?

Or maybe, just maybe,m I'm a bit touchy and too paranoid.

Gypsy arts
I suppose that's what it should be called. Couple of pictures from San Antonio, getting ready for the next big thing.

At Mi Tierra's, legendary San Antonio eatery, some tourist, more tourist than me, was trying to get the young lady (one of the multitude of hostesses) attention. "Madam, ma'am, madam?"

The hostess wasn't much over 20 years old, as a guess. And probably native to San Antonio, but that's a guess. As such, if one was to use a French term, "mademoiselle" would be correct. Spanish might be better, but oddly enough, I know this is a stretch for a tourist, we do speak English in Texas. Even in San Antonio. The fact that border patois is so common? Sometimes I think that's just to mess with our (anglo) brains.

Unrelated: the Silver Bullet.
The Silver Bullet mythology comes from, I'm guessing, a movie. Werewolf. Werewolves have to be killed with a silver bullet, right?

Fortunately, this is a situation that didn't involve me, but I found myself reiterating the same point, over and over, and that point goes back to an incident a few weeks back yonder. When I find myself repeating the same point over and over, I figure it needs to be put into print. This is a first stab the "silver bullet theorem."

Sounds a little like this, "Look at my chart (cards, palm, aura - whatever), tell me what you see. What I can discern is influences, trends, and suggestions as to directions. I don't "see" the future. I see possibilities. I've run into this a number of time, though, when someone comes to me looking for that Silver Bullet.

Hint: it doesn't exist. It's mythology. The silver bullet is really just right there, in the person's hand, right now, it's just matter of taking some kind of action. What kind of action? Now that's a question i can help with, but expecting me to lay it all out?

Oh please.

Bad habits
I arrived at a temporary saturation point with Shakespeare. Too much theory and not enough time watching a play on stage can do that. So I casually picked No Country For Old Men, and there went six hours when I was planning on being asleep.

It's dense, tightly wrapped, and just beautiful, at least, so far. Plus there's a nod, a suggestion that, unlike previous work, it's a little more accessible. And I'm not even a hundred pages into it thus far.

Amazon's settings, for me anyway, popped up Blood Meridian as a secondary suggestion. And until I started this one, my previous conclusion was that Blood Meridian was a better tale than the more famous trilogy.

Time will tell. Plus, at least 100 pages into it? It's a got a few points that make it less "macho" than previous efforts. However, don't confuse "less macho" with prose that isn't muscular.

It's in my pack as I head to San Antonio.

"Computer models subject to large errors - do not use for planning purposes."

The Wal-Mart model:
(I sure hope that the world's largest retailer doesn't get upset because I used the name.)

As the sun heads towards Scorpio, I get this sinking feeling, me being Sagittarius and all, just not very happy about anything. I've got a list of fishing gear I think I need, more along the lines of want than need, and then there's the phone situation and the computer situation, and the holiday situation, and the travel status - working in San Antonio this weekend.

There used to be a cool little fishing place, not far from here, a small store that catered to exclusive fly-fishing. $700 fishing poles that were as light (and fragile, I'm guessing) as a feather. Boxes and boxes of hand-tied flies. Waders, rigging, line, specialty line, leader, all the accoutrements of the sport.

The Internet and Big Box Stores killed the little merchant.

Which is pressure I feel, to be sure. There's a wealth of astrology-related material available on the web. However, most of it seems to derive from same sources, and as such, it's like going to a big box store, tons of retail merchandise, mass-produced, probably in a sweat-shop underpaying local natives, then shipped en masse to America's favorite retail locations: big box discount stores.

But unlike a corporate run website, I'm solely responsible for what shows up here. Boutique astrology? Maybe. At least I don't have to worry about theft or copyright infringement. Although, to some extent, I've had a few try and emulate my style.

Often copied, never equaled.

I don't have to worry about the Wal-Mart model, but the growing concern is that there isn't enough of a call for folks like me. Yeah, well, that's the way it goes. Don't have to worry about selling out any time too soon.

I live, nominally, in Austin. Hotbed for regional politics, in as much as Texas is region unto itself.

This can be taken two ways, one, for my conservative friends, the home of that silly DA who's trying to pin spurious charges with vendetta-fueled case.

Or, two, it can be seen as the home of the last bastion of the champion of the free, where the brave DA is going against corrupt politicians.


"I do not like your faults."
- Brutus to Cassius in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (IV.iii.90)

Via fredlet:
La Fredlet posts about Monahans. I've stopped there, several times, for picnic lunch. Better yet, Monahans Sandhills State Park is clearly visible from the air - usually when flying to and from El Paso, oddly enough.

Hurricane notes:
It's merelty a weather blog, but I've found it to be more informative than most. Concise, and to the point.

Cherchez les petites poissons:
More like an idle morning's labor, and the camera crapped out before I got picture of a monster-sized perch. Bigger than either of the bass, put together. Some days, small fish are better than no fish.
image image

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?
Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

I was just in the West Texas town of El Paso. Plus, I hopped over the state line and up to New Mexico for a day or two, for business. Hopefully, I'll be back that way again in January, "the good lord willing and the creek don't rise."

I encountered much sadness, some loss, a few victories, and number of familiar faces. Plus, as I listened throughout my time there, I kept hearing a recurrent theme, and it has to do with the a "Catholic" sentiment.

"Bargaining: it's a Catholic thing," was the way she explained it. Then came the tale of a near-miraculous save and the appointed task that was part of the bargain. It's a little along the lines of, "If you do this for me, dear lord, then I'll make a sacrifice by doing (some task, a pilgrimage, some good deed)."

Sounds familiar, like, "Rescue me this one time, dear lord (insert appropriate deity), and I'll never do this again. Promise." I figure that's best punctuated by either crossed fingers or some other form of clause.

So I'm not so sure that bargaining is limited to the Catholic faith, either, as I can dig out numerous examples from pre-Christian literature where bargains with the gods have been struck. Of course, having just covered that Shakespeare play and its root source, this is still in my mind. There's two, particularly stately and elegant, long bits of highly ornate poetry that deals with the two main characters pleading to their particular gods to intercede on the querent behalf. Battle to the death, most near, anyways, and then a subtle turn of the trick with the surprise ending, which, I must admit, did surprise me even though I'd just glossed the source poem, not a month or two earlier.

Pursuant of this line of thought, I was considering the bargain, too, only I'm not so sure that I want to disturb the main guy with my plea. I just need a little help to make it through the holiday season without going bankrupt. From my research, I guess I should invoke Mr. Mercury, the winged one, as he also had a lot to do with commerce.

My prayers to Neptune might've been answered, too, as all I asked for was a fish bigger than the last two I caught. Wasn't bigger by much, though. I suppose I should be more specific.

Cherchez le poisson:
This came off the camera, along with a couple of other pictures gathered recently. Wednesday morning's fish, nice little girl. I've got a conventional shot of her, but then, as she was trying one more flip to escape, the camera caught her in action. Figured I'd run it, instead.

See and be seen, overheard
Stopped off at the venerable truck stop for one last dash through El Paso's finest in dining experiences.

Observed a waitress with this uniform on:

"What's that mean?" I asked.

"What's cute is cute," she replied.

Mentally, I came up with, "That which is beautiful is beautiful," but I guess my King James roots are showing.

On break, another waitress was exchanging witticisms with a long-haul driver, "Hey you shouldn't smoke," she proclaimed, loudly.

"Hey," he replied, "I don't tell you not to have sex, don't tell me not to smoke," as he headed out the door.

"That Shakespeare persists in presenting so shadowy a figure, and when his friend Ben Jonson is as clear as a bell and somewhat louder, is one of our reasons for pursuing him."

(Anthony Burgess's Shakespeare, in the Foreward, page 10)

Back in Austin:
I shed long pants and boots, petted the cat, and i did a quick turn on the trail, just to shake the dust out, being a nice afternoon in Austin. Exchange stale airplane air for stale city air. Some place along the way, I think I was immortalized by a Gemini, randomized by a Sagittarius and loaded by a Taurus.

Unrelated links:
(More like "note to self, check this out again.")

The weblog usability notes.

The hunnert best novels (glad to see Neuromancer and Snow Crash up there).

The price is right? What's yours worth?

Trendy dining in El Paso.
image[/style> As long as I've been commuting to El Paso, I can't really recall what I would call a "fine dining" experience. To be sure, I've been in a number of places that qualify as excellent dining experiences, as, quite often, the food has a regional flavor that just can't be matched. Or beat.

So the deal with dinner on Monday evening was "Geo Geske" for a fabled luxury burger. However, after glancing at the menu, after rolling back in from Las Cruces, I opted for pot stickers, and then I had to explain what they were.

Little waitress was a Gemini, and none too fond of Sagittarius, or so it seemed. Just the way it goes, on some days. Personally, I've always found that Gemini and Sagittarius do get along. Mostly.

Dinner was a perfectly rendered "tenderloin sandwich," and as I got around to enjoying the rare beef, I was so pleased that it was done properly. When I say "rare," I expect a cool, bloody center. More like a crippled cow* rather than a slice of beef. Done well. Couldn't work in a dessert, which, on leaving, seemed to be a shame, but I was way too full from the generous portions.

While the place leans towards trendy "California Cuisine" type of fare, it does seem to stray from the micro-portions so common with that style. There was a huge serving of "margarita" fries on my plate. Margarita fries are shoestring french fries with margarita salt and just a hint of lime. I don't even come close to hoovering up most of mine.

But the beef was well-done, in an under-done way - the way I like it.

*I always thought it would be better, more in tune with animal right, people rights and save the planet stuff if we just sliced a bit off of the cow's rump, and then, just served it right up. No need to kill any animals. Best of both worlds.

Two states
Sometimes not much in between.

Sunday's grouping
"Well, it's like I told Kramer," Robin said, addressing the Capricorn next to me, "I've missed you, too, but I'm taking the choke off the shotgun."

Big Screen TV:
Not a pleasure I get very often, not that I would, and sure sign of what I was watching?

"Stay tuned, we'll be back with more CATFISH action!"

And this just in:
Team Xenon?

Plug for Nimrod Packs.


Rainy days
There's a tendency to blame everything on planets. I can do that. "Trust me, I'm a professional."

The other attendees were inclined to blame the rain. Me? I like whatever is there.

"Kramer, if you go up on your prices, you'll have to do it in pesos."

Or, I could start accepting farm animals.

Dinner, one evening, don't ask, I don't recall, the hot sauce was derived from Arboles Chilis, and the song was a sad, dolorous tune about something, "See?" I said, "they're singing our song."

"Yeah Kramer," roll of the eyes, "he's lamenting her death."

Robin approached.
"Hey, que paso?" I drawled.

"No, it's 'El Paso.' And no cheese, so it's not con queso."

Back at work:
"Yes," I've explained this countless times before, "there are only two dates that your guy should never, ever forget, Feb. 14 and," I paused and looked at the astrology chart, peered at the DoB, "and (your birthday). Two dates out of the whole year, it's that simple."

And if it didn't evade so many males? I'd be out of work.

Friday's Five
I'm not sure how to stack up five items that don't match.

image[/style>1. Mesilla Marshal in trouble, and I couldn't get the inside story, but the current marshal - this time - replaced one who was convicted of racketeering, then his replacements was convicted... Law and order in the old West, West of Pecos.

2. Search for audio & video to fill up those new iPods?

3. Rained a quarter of an inch in El Paso. Standing water of the road in places. A quarter of an inch. I sort of expected to see that reporter in canoe, talking about all the water.

4. I got to watch the morning news, and I forgot what I'm missing, how does that song go, "She tells you about the plane crash with twinkle in her eye"?

5. This is scary, "What cost $0.96 in 1972 would cost $4.38 in 2005."

And anytime I need an excuse? I gotta go.

More pictures from the road?

image image

Odd bits on the way to the airport
Odd bits on the way from the airport (must be El Paso).

Apple's big deal?
Frankly, I'm not sure it's what I want - a little animated face talking to me on a tiny screen.

The odd bits (in no order):
Cheapest gasoline?


Hot tip? What to buy used?

Shakespeare's Language, also too big to lug around. But interesting at home.

Really spurious lit note:
"The Matter of Troy is reduced to 'a whore and a cuckold,' Helen and Menelaus, and to a company of rogues, fools, bawds, gulls, and ploiticians masquerading as sages - that is to say, to public figures of Shakespeare's time, and of ours."
(Harold Bloom, writing about Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida in the reference, Shakspeare: the invention of the human, page 328)

Text for The Two Noble Kinsmen - I need to dig out that Venus speech. as a Sagittarius,

Dinner with Grace and Bubba:
Some surprise: Mexican food.

There's always that:
Some items I save as they become perfect illustrations for points in horoscopes. Other stories, though, they just don't have a place, other than here.

At the onset, I was wondering about the flight, Austin to Midland then on to El Paso, and it connected on through to Phoenix.

"Yeah, Greyhound of the skies," I muttered.

Looked like the seat next to me would be empty. Wrong. I spent an hour or more next to the wife a Southern Baptist Missionary. Makes for some interesting chatter.

Too bad - she's lived in around Texas for a long time - she didn't see the Jackolopes (visible from the plane as it arcs in over the Fort Bliss reservation. No, really.)

Reading list & fish
I've been a little lazy, as of late, in catching up with reading material. Somehow, though, I did manage to finish - finally - Shakespeare's The Two Noble Kinsmen, which was well-worth the effort. I no sooner put it down when I picked up, again, Will in the World.

Finished it the other evening, with, no surprise, not much to question about the content. But it did spark a further line of inquiry, for a later date, and I'll go back to an old gift - a copy of The Art of Shakespeare Sonnets. That hardback, however, is far too heavy to travel with.

As Bloom writes, "Critics of The Two Noble Kinsmen generally disagree, but I find Shakespeare's style, in this final work, to be subtler and defter than ever, though very difficult to absorb." (Harold Bloom in his reference, Shakspeare: the invention of the human, page 694)

I've also got an older copy of Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess. I tossed it in the pack, and I'll see if it's any good.

I can't explain away my recent fascination with Shakespeare scholarship. Just a phase, I hope. I'm merely getting in the winter mode, although, I have picked up some new material.

I did find a couple of points in the Will in the World text that dealt suppositions about the creative process, how it works. Never will understand that myself.

Cherchez les petites poissons:
image[/style> Just a couple of tiny bass from the other morning. I was supposed to be doing something else, I'm sure, but it was such a nice morning, and I just popped out for a few minutes. Later in the day, I did manage to catch a few perch, but I didn't deem them worthy of pictures, just fodder for bigger fish. Which I wasn't catching. Certainly could see them, though.

Two meat Tuesday
image[/style> It's just more filler. More like 'fill dirt,' used to shore up an existing hole, so the hole isn't so large.

The Gourds sing about Going to El Paso. (From their Bolsa de Aqua CD.)

T-shirt time:
Friend (Pisces) had this on, I misunderstood its meaning, I'm sure, but I found amusing.

Last week's Sagittarius:
I started that comment, then I forgot where I was going. Maybe that's the problem?

Nice numbers
Then there's the burn out syndrome, and I'm just unloading a backpack, washing the clothes and throwing them back in a suitcase. One more weekend, one more trip.

image[/style> Next destination - West Texas.

Afternoon, it was cool enough for something besides iced espresso. How quaint. all I managed to get done, though, was a load of laundry. Just enough to load the suitcase.

More odd bits
Odd bits? Like best healthy foods? But wait, there's more. Maybe not. Bacon of the month club?

I couldn't figure this one out, the whole earthquake news item. Between that and the ravages of the hurricane in Central America, I'm wondering what the message is.

Leftover bitterness:
I have pair of boots, exotic skin, and I was noticing, another exhibitor was wearing the same kind of boots, same skin. Endangered species. I don't wear them often, if at all, but at a new age exhibit? Endangered species boots?

Or is it me.

"Kramer, who would you go to?"

I had breakfast with the psychics. I wouldn't bother going to one of us.

Odd bits
Who knew there was so much in that magic elixir?

At work? I saw a 15-year old with a "Blondie" t-shirt on. Has Blondie even played any gigs in the last 15 years? Rhetorical, I guess.

Clear image of the hood? And a close-up of Palmer Event Center - and I'd say it's spooky to have a satellite map like that, the trail is easily visible on the northern edge of the south shoreline, but three building in the picture are now gone.

Football break:
"Who's going to win?" I was asked. I patiently explained that I had to pick Horns, being a hometown thing.
These Longhorns had to overcome their own nerves, fumbling the opening kickoff and twice more before the half arrived. Luckily, they lost but one. It was as if the football gods were with them for once. (via San Jose News)

Just another day at the office, huh.

Nature's lessons
What I've learned this fall, so far, from fishing?

If it wiggles, and if it tastes good, then the bass will bite. Preferably, it should wiggle, taste good, and be on the bottom of the river, in shallow water. Motion and flavor, color doesn't matter much.

image[/style> It's the same picture from Wednesday morning, same image, no, didn't catch it again, not yet. But I got to thinking about it, recalling the meaty mouth, the hard bone structure of the jaw, the solid feel to the fish, and how it was 'beefy," in as much as a fish can be so aptly described.

One of the tricks in fishing is learning how to observe nature in her element, and figure out what works. The statistic I've read, and I can't find the source, is that a bass will take the same bait a maximum of three times before learning that the color/composition is bait, and not really food. Which is why I've had the same fish chase the same lure, but not bite. Which, to some folks, I'm sure, can be a frustrating experience.

There was a cold snap - too cold for me to fish right now, and an actual conversation, some point in Friday's afternoon, as I was walking in the cool mist?

"59 degrees, like, that's cold enough for it snow, isn't it? Sure feels that way."

The lesson from the fish? The other afternoon? After some reflection, I realized that the fish are fattening up. They know it's going to be a cold winter.

I used to watch the squirrels, but I haven't been around them too much, not in their natural state, so I couldn't say, can't tell if they're getting fat for the winter, too.

Ah yes, well cold or not, it's off to work this fine Saturday morn.

More useless data
I've had the worst time sleeping, a leftover problem from last week's medications, I'm sure. I wold tend to discount the amount of coffee consumed as a likely culprit - perish the thought. So I get to find items on the web at odd hours, that tickle me in odd ways, hence useless data.

image[/style>The Real story:
Pre-order the latest in the ongoing debate about who really wrote the plays.

Makes sense, possibly, and wasn't it Bloom who insisted that Falstaff was one of the greatest characters ever invented?

Personally, I like the conspiracy theories best. And related tales, too. Nothing like pure speculation to engage the mystery.

I'm not getting in on the authorship debate, as it's a ticklish situation, and as I've noted before, there's really no way to know for sure.

In other news:
Time Warner AOL & etc., seems to have blocked certain sites. Or did they?

image[/style>At the same time, I wonder how this works, Time Warner AOL & etc. bought Weblogs, Inc.

Local wildlife refuge endangered?
One of the top ten wildlife refuges that are endangered.

Interesting take:
A novel solution to a problem, one that doesn't bother me much, but I'm eternally amused - or annoyed, sort of depends on the time of day - by the scams.

For the "how far would you swim" department:
A female navigated that far, just looking for a mate?

Bet she had to stop and ask directions.

My favorite Great White is still Sherman.

Stan hit Veracruz, and yet, there's a relative paucity of media data available. Veracruz shows up in Texas history, in as much as Texas and the Gulf are linked. And Veracruz was, at one time, a rather important point in history. But the exact reference currently escapes me. New Mexico: like Old Mexico, only more expensive (but no by much).

Without form:
Since I couldn't put a coherent thought together about Stan and Veracruz, I figured I'd better work out a theory, or a simple hypothesis about the current hurricane season, as Tammy got her act together.


That's a simple solution. Something like a dozen years ago, there was a freak twister, tornado, in England. Landed in a trailer park. Nothing we don't see around here on a regular basis, I might add, but it must've been novel for the UK. So I'm thinking, all the hurricanes this season/ The real problem? Is it global warming? Freak conditions? Or just aluminum?

Travel bits:
Austin this weekend. Then on to fur West Texas, with an unrelated travel notation.

Inbound mail:
>On Oct 5, 2005, at 1:14 PM, fredlet wrote:
>Scruples are money in Russia and morals are paintings on walls and ethics
>drive cabs in New York City.

Swiped from Scott:
Can't say anything about it myself, but my own dear Ma Wetzel liked it. (that link)

For the "never eat anything bigger than you" department:
Snake explodes with meal. Lunch was a 6-foot alligator?

Apres fish:
At some point, yesterday, I popped downtown to grab mail, run around to a coffee shop for an afternoon libation, here it is, first week of October, and I'm still dependent on iced espresso, it's been that warm. While I was waiting for the ice to melt, I noticed a lad with a nice Apple 'book, and as he was accessing a news site, I watched - BBC Online - a site I tend to prefer for global news. Just because.

Cherchez le poisson:
Just one. Tried that clever bit from the other afternoon, only, this was the crappie pole - ultra-light gear. I'm guessing three-plus pounds. Gave up a tremendous fight, too.

Two meat Tuesday
image[/style>There are days when the headlines themselves just say it all. Then there are always other considerations, as well. Plus fishing. Always work in a fishing line when I can.

Movie notes:
"You know there's a million fine looking women in the world dude, but they don't all bring you lasagna at work." (Kevin Smith, as silent Bob, in Clerks)

More bad news?
From the national press, more on Tom DeLay. The bad news part? Know who his lawyer is? That lawyer always beats the charges.

From the "Will the warranty cover this" department:
Water resistant iPod?

Cherchez les poissons:
Six inches of fury - been trying to catch part of this gang, finally fooled them. Took an extra degree of cunning to catch the little runts.
image image

New Audio files
The subscriber-only .

Back in the saddle
Odds and ends, picked up from the overnight excursion. There's something about the achingly flat plains of the Permian Basin that wakens a soulful longing in me. Can't put a finger on it, though.

It's sense that Midland (Odessa, Permian Basin) is much abused, much maligned and vilified in the press, part of the process. To be sure, the store inside the security band has T-shirts for sale, "This is BUSH Country." All I could come up with was a play on words, and I decided to avoid that.

It's also a gateway, of sorts, to the Big Bend. And perhaps a decent halfway point between Dallas and El Paso.

Airport Reading:
From The New Yorker Magazine - "Gone with the surge" (Sept 26, 2005 - page 76)
"My guess is that the President could sense in Biloxi, Gulfport, and other coastal towns something of Midland, Texas, a boom-and-bust oil town that, unlike New Orleans, was forever reinventing itself, with an eye on the next big deal and, more important, a capacity for finding opportunity in misfortune. In Midland, disaster is an oil bust; on the coast, it's a direct hit from a once-in-a-lifetime storm."

"I'm not kidding: there was a Pussy-Cat-A-Go-Go" club," then he gave the address, in what is now downtown Midland.

Alongside airport reading:
I watched as a B-17, I'm guessing, fully restored, lumbered up and into the afternoon sky. Off to its home, I'd guess, after the big show. Next was a pair B-25's, departing. None of which was anywhere near the size of the AA Puddle Jumpers or SWA's 737s, waiting to turn around carry us home.

I've got to make one of the CAF Air Show things, one time. This last weekend was just very poor planning on my part.

Departure notation:
There's a sense, like barnstorming days of yore, with the old prop planes, out on the runways, the big commercial jet lumbering off into the sunset.

"Like tall ships under sail - "
The Two Noble Kinsmen (Act 2, scene 2, line 12)

Headline News:
Border news, from a headline I spotted Sunday morning.

And, in a much lighter vein, Buns of Steel?

Coolest tech toys?
According to someone, it's a top one hunnert list.

That's MY excuse:
Mars. Mars is moving, thoroughly, backwards. Not so much that you'd notice it, but somehow, yes, it's bad. And it's going to get worse before it gets better. (That was a just a little note to myself after the unfortunate incident on the airplane. But never mind that now.)

We drove out here once. Twice, come to think of it, and it was like, 400 miles, door-to-door. 350, at least. It's a long way, and frankly, not much in between.

Oil pumps are still pumping, and there seems to be a number of signs of "economic boom" going on, at least, locally. But it's still, in its heart of hearts, a sleepy little town on the plains of West Texas.

Midland? Or Odessa? At the risk of seriously irritating the local population, it's one of those scenes that the two towns are virtually interchangeable.

I get confused. I just refer to the area as MAF. It's the airport code. Shorthand, and, as I recall, the code is derived from Midland Air Force, a not-so-secret installation, back in its day.

"Yes, I abhor violence unless I'm the perpetrator."

"You can't get drunk enough to say 'I'll go to Houston.'"

Inbound notices:
So that's why business is slow? Prada opening in Valentine?

Up in the air
Check out the original Delicate story. Weather data.

Odd reading notes:
Shakespeare's "Apocrypha," The Two Noble Kinsmen. From the introduction, "The Two Noble Kinsmen is a Jacobean dramatization of a medieval English tale based on an Italian romance version of Latin epic about one of the oldest and most tragic Greek legends...." (page one, opening line).

I can't say why I plucked it from the shelf, I needed something to read. Been meaning to address it since it's a play that's now officially part of the canon.

"Because, until recently, it was so little known and performed, The Two Noble Kinsmen can still be genuinely suspenseful even for readers and spectators who know its main source, Chaucer's Knight's Tale (introduction, page 2).

I forgot why I love dodgy, stodgy Brit Lit Crit. Odd affection I have for arcane bits of lore, huh?

And that train of thought was derailed from a diatribe about the names of hurricanes.

Up in the air, part Dos:
CAF annual Air Show. Poor planning for an event coordinator, if you ask me. But no one did.

It's still nice, though, to look around the dining room, and there, nicely attired gentlemen, acting like gentlemen, and wearing crisp straw hats. Cowboy hats. For real.

"I'm not sure

From the "you must be kidding" bureau:
Perfect Man 4 Me? (Surely you jest?)

Not a joke?
Biblical in proportions? Biblical curse generator.

Through the glass darkly:
Via TFG (thanks!)

One, final political comment:
Robin Gile, author of the Idiots Guide to Palmistry, and actually, a very gifted palmist, psychic reader, whatever, and truth be told, wry wit, once remarked to me about politics, a matter we both try to steer far away from, and I should note, he lives in Albuquerque, NM, "That's the problem with the New Mexico politicians? Pikers. They aren't like the Texans, they haven't learned how to steal with both hands."

He's just jealous.

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Odds and ends, ready for the road
I wonder, though, why is it called a "road trip" when I'm getting on an airplane? Other bits, this could a be a "Friday Fiver"?

1. I had an interesting e-mail cross my inbound stack of crap, turns out, since I dropped support for older browsers, folks on Web TV and particularly on older versions of AOL client software are having troubling accessing the free horoscopes. Free - as in last week's news. Not the current scopes, which, I might add, do support older browsers, just the free stuff. Not to draw generalities, but - and don't all horoscopes deal in generalities - the users on the older systems seem to be unwilling to part with any type of financial resources to help support this site. Inbound mail? >I think you're right about balance in your audio forecast.

New words for the disclaimer?
Astrofish.net maintains this website as a service to anyone who is interested. Kramer Wetzel will take good care of the composition of this site and the updating of the presented data. Nevertheless, Kramer Wetzel and/or astrofish.net will not accept any liability for damages, in any form, arising from or in relation to the use of www.astrofish.net or for a temporary inability to access this site.

The product and brand names mentioned on this site are copyright protected.

The only user information captured is the IP address of the computer used, the browser used, the pages visited and the date and time of visit. Astrofish.net will use this data to monitor the way www.astrofish.net is used and further adapt the site to its visitors' requirements. If you use this site to order information, your name, address and e-mail address are asked only to ensure that we can reply to your request.

2. More updates:
Fever broke Thursday morning. Not that it was problem, it's them miracle drugs, I'm sure.

Friday's goal? Get to the airport on time, get on the plane, get to Midland in an expeditious manner.

3. In other news?
That's my train (which I wasn't on).

4. Vague political rumblings:
Two newspapers, from generally speaking, the same area, geographically. One article commented on the brave Tom DeLay, facing up to the obvious politically motivated attacks and charges levied by the Democratic Travis County DA, Ronnie Earle. The paper ran a story about how Tom DeLay is temporarily stepping down from his position while the political witch-hunt in Austin is carried on, and no doubt, will prove fruitless and, of course, a waste of taxpayers' money. The other paper carried everything but conclusive evidence that the Sugarland politician was tied to highly questionable financial dealings that will, no doubt, prove him guilty of malfeasance on a grand scale.

Prompts two questions, really, one, what's the real story, without a spin? And two, is it any wonder that "big media" is questionable? Two papers. From the same geographical area, only, the stories - the same source, has two different set of editorial values.

I believe it was Molly Ivins who said she would never be moved to write fiction as long there was politics to cover. Huh.

It was Will Rogers who claimed that, "Oklahoma will continue to vote dry as long as they can stagger to the polls."

Why I stay away from political commentary, whenever possible.

5. Unrelated lit notes:
Thomas McGuane had a short story in the September 19 New Yorker magazine, I think the story was called the "The Cowboy." I finished reading the article and marveled at the fiction. Cadence, speech, patterns, all rang true. Just a good short story. At a time, when moments before I was lamenting the sad state of Western American fiction, especially the short story. Cormac McCarthy being the exception to the recent canon of Western American fiction.

As a "Western American Fiction" sidebar, I suppose, and off on a tangent, Walter J. Williams wrote a book called The Rift. Same author as Hardwired, and several other serious series, after that. Now, I can go one of two ways, discuss Walter Jon Williams use of place in his SF, especially his earlier cyber-punk, or what I was really meaning to do, consider the background for the novel The Rift, above and beyond other (c.f., 9/5/99 entry) comparisons, as a foretelling of what might happen again.

Recovering nicely
But first, heavy metal meets string quartet.

image[/style>So that's the problem. Solution. Whatever.

I had an image, leftover from the fishing trip, and I didn't know what to do with it. I'm sure I can work it into a fine example of something, that's for sure. Monday morning, I caught a Stingray, a half-dozen "hard heads" (catfish), and a nice speckled trout (not quite a keeper, either).

Plus Blue Crabs. Three of them. The fishing line would start to move, in once place, the bait was cut Croaker, and then the bobber started inching sideways. The guide handed the pole to me, "You got a fish," and I'd reel in a crab. Having never seen Blue Crab in the wild before, not without batter, I was intrigued. I meant to get a picture, but I was just there, looking at this crab, hanging in mid-air, one claw gripping the bait, not hooked, mind you, but one claw holding on, while the mouth "things" were feeding.

"That one's a male, you can tell by the (something or other)."

But that's a perfect example, too. Three times, I got to see this. The little crab would latch onto the bait with his claw, usually his left claw, and he'd continue to feed even though he was being dragged through the water. Even though he was being held up for inspection. Bait was that tasty, as far as the crab was concerned, I guess.

I'd shake the pole, and eventually, he'd plop back in the water. On time, I watched as a big Redfish dove under the boat to grab the crab. A fine meal, I'm sure.

Two items really intrigued me about the blue crabs. One was the color, bright blue, a shade darker than sky blue, on the underside of the legs and claws, on the shell in places, too. The other fascinating point was the way it just held on, and kept eating, oblivious to its precarious predicament.

The way those little crabs would hold on? Reminded me of something. Or someone.

Palm's mistakes And buried treasure.

Cherchez le tres petite poisson:
Only time I felt fine was standing in the 100-degree sun light, with a pole in hand.

(Very small sample of a healthy black bass)

Two Redfish Tuesday
Everybody's got to have a drug. Redfish? Sure, why not?

Only got two, actually caught four, but one was marginal in the slot, right at 20 inches, the other was only 24 inches. Compared to the first two? Seemed paltry. I kept waiting for another big one, but that didn't happen. There's always next time.




One of the guys who didn't make the picture, in fact, he's back in the water now? He was about two feet long, and after I hooked him, he fought the entire length of the little slough, pulling against me, the anchor, everything.

"Would you look at that wake!" Ron remarked, "That's a big one for sure."

Or just a big fighter, and he's free, so he can get a little bigger and fight some more. There is something special about holding a fishing pole while a fish swims hard enough to create a wake. Maybe not big enough to surf on, but it would be a close call.

There's some portent in here, though, like clouds obscuring the sun's light, since Tuesday morning, it was off to the "doc in the box" - as recommended by the front desk clerk - to get some meds for a very sore throat.

That single night time trout picture? It came after an evening on silver and gold spoons, catching all manner of little fishes. Then a "purt near" keeper trout.

One day of coast
And now I'm ill.
Wished I'd known this before... Flipper, armed and dangerous.





REK - Floores Country Store
I'm unsure of how to introduce the concept. "No. 2 Live Dinner" was done at Floores, a few years back.

A few years later a fishing buddy said, you'll love this, it has a song about a 5 pound bass. And a few years later, I find myself at Floores Country Store, "I'm over you now, it's Saturday night, I'm going to town...."

image[/style>It was picture perfect weather, couldn't have asked for better timing. The crowd seemed a little thin from previous Floores shows, but I'll write that off to either timing or location.

I remarked, before the show, what I really want is a #2 Dinner, signed by REK. From the stage, halfway through his first set, he mentioned that he would be signing merch later. Anything. Pictures. By then I was way too tired.

Memorable moments included Dylan's Tangled Up in Blue, covered very nicely, although, some folks around us didn't get it.

Early on, as a good Capricorn, Robert Earl Keen officially launched my Xmas season, with his "Merry Xmas from the Family...."

"You know," he commented from stage, "A Christmas song has to be followed by a song about fish. I read that."

Rollicking good fun, as usual. Ducking out before the mass exodus, on the highway back in San Antonio, the little freeway signs warned about congestion going to Houston and low fuel supplies.

It's the same old tune
How's that go? "It's the same old tune, fiddle and guitar, where do we take it from here?"

"Doctors keep their scalpels and other instruments handy, for emergencies. Keep your philosophy ready too - ready to understand heaven and earth. In everything you do, even the smallest thing, remember the chain that links them. Nothing earthly succeeds by ignoring heaven, nothing heavenly by ignoring the earth."

Marcus Aurelius - Meditations - Book III, #13

Coming into San Antonio, southbound, the usual traffic signs were flashing with hurricane warnings and notes that the shelters were open. Not that it mattered.

By Saturday morning, the fancy downtown hotel's TV was showing the same reporters who were in Cancun a few months ago, standing on some beach in Southeast Texas, down along our Toxic Triangle (where the refineries and superior blues musicians come from).

I kept thinking, can we sue the media for the panic generated?

The "computer models" and "weather experts" couldn't agree, and I kept thinking, after that interchange with a client on Friday morning, maybe I should just look into being a weatherman. Except I'd probably have to get my haircut and wear a tie. I wonder of they'd like a weatherman in a bolo tie? That would be a little different, and surely they could use something more than hurricane reports to spice it up.

Best guess? There were no good guesses. The storm was going to either head up the Sabine River, and station itself over Shreveport. Or maybe it was going to go to the west, and hit Dallas. One model from Thursday, they don't remember, but I do, showed the storm going to Dallas, then Ft. Worth. Another showed it looping back to New Orleans, while a different projection had it going south-southwest along the Texas Coastal Bend.

Early Saturday morning, there were long, thin trails of vapor, clouds that looked like, maybe, they were arms of the storm, arching overhead downtown San Antonio. A little later, as I showed up, for a showing at the bookstore, the sky was clear again. Breeze kicked up a little but not much.

"I was training, with this girl, and she was telling us she couldn't come in because of the wind, the rain, the tornados - she was scared."

"I told her we'd be lucky to get a little breeze, and we could pray for rain, but that's probably not going to happen here."

Random storm notes
Thursday, in a series of on-going negotiations about my weekend plans, whether or not - at the behest of my mother (Scorpio) - I should head to Dallas, and not to the coast, what eventually emerged was that Dallas was just as choked as Houston.

It came out of my mouth, I was doing the joke, "Hurricanes are like women:"

"Careful with that next line," I was admonished.

To which I replied, "Can't argue with either of 'em."

Overheard (from me - again):
Phone rang, the reading line. Not expecting any calls, I answered with a humorous, "End of the world, this is Kramer."

Dull silence. Humor: it's lost on some.

Doesn't much matter, where I wind up, coastal or western, I'm pretty sure that 'net communications will be bad until Monday afternoon, at the earliest. In true Austin fashion, living in denial, ACL Fest is slated to continue. Which means, I'm leaving. Destination is uncertain (but not Uncertain, TX - which would be in the projected path of the hurricane).

More expectations?
From, literally, the front line in Houston. In another report, while searching for something completely different, I'll admit, all I did was look at the pictures, but there is a good shot of what Houston looked like in June of '01.

Less expectations:
My sister, Gemini, for years and years, lived less than one linear mile from point where three major fault lines coincided. To me, that's like living on the edge, more ways than one.

Capricorn Expectations:
As long as ACL Fest is happening in Austin, that means REK will be playing Saturday night at Floores Country Store. As of now, I've still got a valid ticket.

Friday's five
"Conscious existence is essentially fluid, though only poets and sensitives seem to understand this to any appreciable extent. Guidance toward life's fulfillment must begin as anything organic always does, through am emergence of meaning out of a vast complex of convenient and converging realities."
From The Sabian Symbols in Astrology by Dr. Marc Edmund Jones (Santa Fe, NM: Aurora Press, 1993. Page 100.)

I grabbed my copy of Sabian Symbols because I was looking up a single point, but like a good text, as I was glancing through some of the introduction, I happened upon that passage. There's a lot more, but it seemed to resonate well at the time.

2. Lyrical notation:
"Down around the corner, half a mile from here, see them long trains running and watch them disappear...." Pop Life cover.

3. Just interesting tidbits:
Weather Underground Blog.

4. Hurricane quote?
"O, that hast damnable iteration, and art indeed able to corrupt a saint."
Shakespeare's Henry IV, part i; I.ii.85.

It's Falstaff blaming Prince Hal for tricky behaviors.

5. In the local news?
I have a great deal of respect for Omar, although, truth be told, I'm less enamored of his employer, but as an Aries with a strange little side, he can capture a moment so well.

The sound and the fury
image[/style>The hurricane is almost upon us. Fortunately, I've been in a bubble, sans TV and therefore, without media saturation. I got all twisted up, clicking through on hurricane and news sites, to the extent that the computer choked and bombed. I think it's a sign.

This week's audio message is eerily prescient about the hurricane, with the theme being, "Get out of the way".

I was glancing through whatever newspaper was left behind at Sandy's, and the article jogged my memory, Allison, June, 2001. Wasn't a hurricane, just a named tropical depression and in three days, it made three passes through downtown Houston, 37 inches of rain - more than a yard. 6/01 to 9/05, 4 years. So the last "big one" wasn't that long ago.

Sidebar item naturalist's note:
There's a study, posted online (outline), about how the oil platforms in the Gulf are providing an unexpected breeding ground for migratory birds.

A Gemini neighbor pulled me aside, as he hopped out of his fancy SUV, "Hey, can you explain to me, why a hurricane on the gulf, over 200 miles away, why I have to buy a case of bottled water?"

I just stood there with a fishing pole in hand, looking dumb.

Corpus Christi, TX. The Texas Coastal Bend:
I've worked and played in the area for the last dozen years, as often as several times a year, but at least once a year, or so it seems. While I'm enormously fond of the Gulf Coast, as I've made my way down there, I've paid close attention to the "Brush Country" of South Texas. From San Antonio, about 30 miles south of town, there's a low hill, headed south on the highway, around Pleasanton, I think, and the elevation drops. From that point, south to the edge of the warm waters of the Gulf, it's not much more than scrub mesquite, gnarled branches, wind-whipped and drought resistant. Basically, San Antonio is the first place with any degree of elevation. A really big wave could wash up to a hundred miles inland, be my best guess.

I've joked about it, but in a conversation with my overly-concerned mother, I suggested that the vegetation, Nature, provides a clue. The area, that tough and hardy plant life, plus the topography, it suggests that there's always the chance of a big storm. Occurs, in geological time, frequently. Plants and wildlife adapt to it. The topography is obviously sculpted by it. Wind and water. And searing sun.

The Coastal Bend area is full of contrasts. Next to an airport that primarily services oil platforms, there's a wildlife refuge. At one place where I've bought bait, as recent as last month, I've watched, as soon as the shrimp was sold out, the guy backs his boat out of the slip to fetch some more. I'd call the coastal marshes and bays a fragile ecosystem, but Nature has a way of taking care of herself. Big storm like this? I just bought a map with coordinates for fishing points in the bay. By the time I get to use that map? I'm sure some of the barrier beach will be "reorganized."

Approaching Corpus Christi on the highway, there's a "refinery ring" that comes first. Exit signs are marked with names like Corn Products Road, Southern Minerals Road, and there's the ever-present sulphur aroma that accompanies a couple of large petrochemical plants.

I've got clientele, customers, and more than a few friends, all in that area. What comes back to me, though, more than anything else, was recalling that night, a summer's eve, sometime in the last decade, the couple had survived more than one hurricane.

"Why do you stick around? You could just head up the freeway to San Antonio, right?"

"Never can tell, might be able to do something to help, like keep the roof from blowing off the house," he said.

Doing my bit:
I'm providing emergency relief for a certain red-headed Capricorn. While I'm out of town, remember the axiom "get out of the way," She is, in turn hosting her immediate family from Houston.

I'm not concerned about personal safety, though, not me. I live in a constant state of denial. My fishing buddy on the coast is currently just a little south of here, just north of San Antonio. But as of now, we still have a plan to fish on Monday morning.

And tales from other fronts:
"So, you remember her? She was in the grocery store, before she headed out of town, her boss sent everyone in the office to higher ground. She was going to pick up some water, but the aisle with bottled water was completely empty except for one jug of water. A guy was approaching from the other end, and he said, 'It's mine. I have a gun.'

"Can you believe that?"

Butterfinger for breakfast
Venus, cover songs, long-haired leaping gnome. Both those tunes woke me up. No, the cat woke me up, but I hearing both those tunes in my head as I was crawling out of the bed. Sent me on a search for the lyrics, online.

Filed under "TexMex," appropriately so, Joe King & the Crowns (singing): "San Antonio, no where else..." (then something about walking down Broadway in SA)

Which led to a link to the worst rock songs.

Lyric : War - Spill The Wine
Album : Best Of War & More
I was once out strolling one very hot summer's day
When I thought I'd lay myself down to rest
In a big field of tall grass
I laid there in the sun and felt it carressing my face
And i fell asleep and dreamed
I dreamed i was in a hollywood movie
And that i was the star of the movie
This really blew my mind
The fact that me an overfed long haired leaping gnome
Should be the star of a hollywood movie, hmmm
But there i was
I was taken to a place
The hall of the mountain kings
I stood high by the mountain tops
Naked to the world
In front of
Every kind of girl
There was long one's tall ones, short ones, brown ones,
Black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones
Out of the middle, came a lady
She whispered in my ear
Something crazy
She said,

Chorus x4
Spill the wine and take that pearl

I could feel hot flames of fire roaring at my back
As she disappeared, but soon she returned
In her hand was a bottle of wine
In the other a glass
She poured some of the wine from the bottle into the glass
And raised it to her lips
And just before she drank it, she said

take the wine take that girl
spill the wine, take that girl
spill the wine, take that girl
spill the wine, take that girl
take that girl, yeah!
It's on girl, all you gotta do is spill that wine
spill that wine, let me feel, let me feel hot, yeah! yeah!
spill the wine, spill the wine, spill the wine, spill the wine,
spill the wine, spill the wine, spill the wine,
take that girl!

By: Shocking Blue
(Rob van Leeuwen) - 1969
A goddess on a mountain top
Was burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name
She's got it
Yeh baby she's got it
Well, I'm your Venus
I'm your fire
At you desire
Well, I'm your Venus
I'm your fire
At your desire
Her weapon were her crystal eyes
Making every man we met ...

I much prefer to link to the lyrics and to have a proper (MLA) citation for author and source. but that could be me, I might be a little out-of-date.

"General's gather in their masses/Just like witches at black masses..."
(Black Sabbath - War Pigs/Luke's Wall)

I'm just waiting for a "expiration date" to come up on some of these thoughts. Just be glad I didn't go looking for REO Speedwagon's "Riding the Storm Out," waiting in the dug out?

Inbound mail 1:

Q0002 Spill the Wine $0.99
Subtotal: $0.99
Tax: $0.08
Order Total: $1.07
Billed To: Store Credit

(I don't remember any "store credit" but don't argue with "free," I always say. No street cred, either. Not that it matters.)

Inbound mail 2:
>By far the best scopes I ever read - thanks so much.

Always like to read that.

Inbound mail 3:
> You out of town this weekend? Can I stay at your place?
> Family's coming in from - you guessed it - Houston.
> They were in the mandatory evacuation zone

Yeah, since I was supposed to go to the coast, sure, not a problem. I'm still - as of now - working in SA on Saturday.

Couple of neighbors were talking about the storm and the dams along the Colorado River. I'm surprised that no one seems to remember any of the previous hurricanes we've been through. I've been bouncing down the Gulf for over a decade, and I've observed that native vegetation has adapted itself for such weather. Plus, this one bothers me, what, about a half-dozen years ago? A "tropical depression" dumped something like 30 inches of rain on Houston, and only because it wasn't quite hurricane strength, it didn't get the attention it deserved.

The Gulf Coast, the Texas Gulf Coast? This isn't the first one. Nope, seen this before.

"Studies have shown (or would show, if they existed) that among outdoor enthusiasts between the ages of forty and fifty-two who do repetitive-motion activities like rowing, long-distance cycling, jogging, or hiking, fully 37 percent have the words to the song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" echoing in their brains." (Frazier, Ian. The Fish's Eye NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. Chapter title: In The Brain, page 89.)

There's no way to Reason With Hurricane Season.

Free Opera and some more Town Lake fish.
image[/style>One fish, anyway. Free Opera. I've joked about it often enough, and I've asked, on more than one occasion, what the prevailing attitude would be if I took an idle afternoon, and just hung at an off-ramp, with a sign. "Anything helps, God Bless." Or, "Need money for bait," or something similar. Seems like someone is doing something similar.

How old, really?
From a "best of the web" link to poking around to this. Yea, verily.

Final silly notation:
Last of the "talk like a pirate" nonsense (one would hope).

Musical notes:
By now, the word that Steve Jobs (Pisces, of Apple fame) has suggested that the music companies are "greedy" is part of the news. Being a poor, marginalized horoscope writer, I understand. I've got clients on both ends of that deal, as successful musicians who depend on rights and royalties to help raise a family, as up-and-coming musicians looking for a deal, and as musicians who've been screwed by their "label" in any one of a number of ways.

I buy very little music online. I've got, maybe, a dozen "bootleg" tracks, which were, at the time, free & legal. I tend to purchase albums (CDs really) for liner notes and to assure that the artist is getting a cut, although, that cut usually doesn't amount to much. However, I do like places like Executive Surf Club Records, and, of course, Austin's Waterloo because they are independent and they report to the national sales charting company (I think it's called Sound Scan or something). I'm forever going to root for the underdog.

My understanding of the deal, though is that out of that $1 per song, the recording company gets close to 80% of the cash. Not a bad deal.

I was thinking about this because I'm going to see REK Saturday night, I hope. I've purchased "No. 2 Live Dinner" a half dozen times. Always gets lent out, never to be seen - or heard - again. it's a good album, one of the best. I'm wondering if his recent What I Really Mean will attain the same status?

So what I do these days? I burn up a playlist, mark the CD, and tell the folks to buy the album. Several folks have asked, "Hey, that third track, the song that goes... Who is that?"

But that's not really going to sell any albums, or is it?

Hurricane notes:
Another link I'm unsure of, but it could work. I'm beginning to get the idea that the Fates really don't want me in the Gulf, fishing.

I'll predict landfall for Rita, south of Corpus Christi, and then the storm will drop a lot of rain in West Texas, southern New Mexico, and finally as far west as Arizona.

Cherchez les poissons:
I tried a half-dozen plastic bits, then settled on the old familiar, and there she was:

A neighbor (Sagittarius) was passing, walking her dog, "Hey, nice fish."

In fact, there were two more, about the same size, perhaps a little larger, but alas, perched on an incline, balancing a pole, fish and trying to juggle a camera, it didn't work. And without the evidence, those other two fish? I can't say that they were really that much bigger. As I thought about it, though, might've been the same fish, twice. It happens.

"Fishing is worth any amount of effort and any amount of expense to people who love it, because in the end you get such a large number of dreams per fish." (Frazier, Ian. The Fish's Eye. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. Chapter title: An Angler at Heart, page 47.)

"Most angling stories involve big fish. For a fish to be literary, it must be immense, moss-backed, storied; for it to attain the level of the classics, it had better be a whale." (Frazier, Ian. The Fish's Eye. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. Chapter title: Big Fish, Little Fish, page 74.)

It's just a thin, little book. And I've read some of his other material, and I can't say I've always been impressed. But his fly-fishing tales, plus other adventures, makes me think about a summer afternoon, like yesterday, when I watched as a big bass gobbled up my bait, I set the hook, and I pulled in a big one. While I precariously balanced alongside a culvert.

The beginning of the end?
I'm pretty sure it's a Winston Churchill quote, from a WW II era address to parliament, about how it's not the end, nor is it the beginning, but it's the end of the beginning.

I've actually got that quote on file some place, only, I'm much too aggrieved to look it up to verify attribution and accuracy (I've been meaning to link that audio file for several days, goes back to the Uke post.)

And some more of those block rocking beats:
"Well the last time I remember the train stopping at the depot was when me and my Aunt Cleda came riding back from Waco.

"Well I remember I was wearing my long pants and we was sharing conversation with a man who sold ball point pens and paper.

"And the train stopped once in Clifton where my Aunt bought me some ice cream, and my mom was there to meet us when the train pulled into Cockerell.

"And the sounds of trains only remains in the memories of one like me that turned their backs on the splintered tracks...."

(Part II of Lyle Lovett's version of Steve Fromholz's Texas Trilogy, arguably one of the best songs - ever - about Texas.)

But it just isn't a road trip in Texas unless it includes Freebird.

Cleared up the details, and I'm headed back San Antonio - ostensibly for (freelance) employment, I'll be at the bookstore, again, next >Saturday. Conveniently, on my way towards the coast.

On the political front:
Kinky's gaining momentum. Never underestimate a Scorpio.

And how fast are you?

Cherchez le poisson:
I'm sure the fish just took the bait to make my day.
Downtown Hotels
Fins. Sharks. Something.
El Mirador? Sure, sounded good, just a little south of downtown, close enough, and good, too. In a personal quest, I'm still looking for a "machacado plato" that surpasses the truck stop in El Paso, and the quest goes on.

El Mirador is pretty good, with usually attentive service that occasionally doesn't pay full attention. Which, all being said and done, isn't so bad, not really, as I prefer to think of it as ambiance instead of inattentive staff.

The "machocado plato" itself is very good, the right combination of elements, the correct "stringy beef to scrambled eggs" mix.

The only problem the other morning? Some one - I'm not naming names - was playing with his food: sliding a tortilla chip through the refried beans, mimicking the theme from "Jaws."

All it got was a roll of the eyes.

I then tried two chips in the (receding) sea of refried beans.
"Fins to the left. Fins to the right...."

Sunny Citrine?
I was looking up particular mineral, and what I found in the book, at least one of them was that Citrine was the "merchant's stone" because, according to that one text, a clump of citrine in the cash box or register at store attracted more cash.

Think it would look odd with a chunk of stone in my wallet?

"Oh, I always get in the last word with my wife. It's usually, 'yes dear,' or 'whatever you want, honey.'"

Unrelated graphic I've been meaning to include:
(from the wall outside the homeless shelter, downtown SA)

Only one I can personally vouch for, seen him a time of two with the old Tornados, and, well, he's the star.

And one nice quote from a "David Robinson, formerly of the Spurs," about that new shopping center with the thing crowd, he was in the new Apple store, "This is the coolest store here." (From the Saturday Express-News article about thongs)

San Antonio
I stopped in Mary Jane's Cafe, right next to the bookstore, for a cup of coffee and some fried chicken embryos for breakfast.

I opened up a copy of the Saturday paper. There was an article about the new shopping center that's having a grand opening.

I misread the headline, but it's why I obviously like this town.

"SA Shops till it drops.
La Cantera Grand opening attracts thong crowd."

What's there not to love?

SA never lacks for a good reason to party: I think - could be wrong - but I figure it was Miguel Hidalgo, the irreverent priest who helped ferment and foment the Mexican Revolution. Party day is nominally Sept 16, stretched all weekend. As I've suggested, SA never lacks for a good reason to party.

A traditional repast for a tourist is taken at Mi Tierras, and on the way in, I kept hearing the conjunto in the street, lively music, it's that "lead accordion" that rocks.

On the way out, I had to pause. The band had changed, but there was still a lead accordion playing, and the lead singer was playing the "air accordion," if I could beleive my eyes. I was tired, it was a long day, but still, Air Accordion.

Another band (group, really) was warming up, a high school group, according to an announcer, "Our Lady of the Lake," and all I can think of when I hear that is some watery woman, handing some knight a sword. Which has nothing to do with anything. Other than the Templars, and so forth.

Good thing I'm not paranoid. Just a confused white boy adrift in a Spanish town.

I looked out over the couples drifting on the street, in front of the makeshift band shell, half-dozen couples, half-dozen kinds of dancing styles, no two matched, and even my Anglo self though, "Hey, I could do that shuffle...."

San Antonio
The morning ride down Broadway? Just one image.

San Antonio
Midnight express - work at the bookstore.

Unrelated sidebar item, sort of tacked on at the last minute:
It's about advertising. I clicked through on a link to an article, and the information I was seeking was buried, maybe a third of the page/screen was useful data, the rest was advertising. That, in and of itself, isn't a problem. I certainly do that myself. What I thought was a little annoying, in order to access that data, there's a registration process that included harvesting my e-mail address. So they have the option of sending me more advertising.

Paid content, like, shouldn't it be virtually ad-free? What's the point in hitting the poor web browser twice, or three times, other than to annoy?

Granted, I do link to commercial sites, and astrofish.net is a "for profit business," but in the paid subscriber section, there's one PSA, and less than 2% advertising overall.

Subscriptions and so forth? No ads? Isn't that way it should be?

Cherchez le poisson:
Thursday Morning's "little friend."

Sure Happy It's Thursday
That tag line was picked up from a Gemini at Dell. Enough said about that? So Happy It's Thursday.

Musical distractions;
(via fredlet) What I've done? I did it a long time ago. I replaced the white ear buds with generic black ones, I think they were 99 cents, from a superstore. I'm not like the masses. Wait, maybe I am. 245 songs, at this point, 3.56 GB, on a 4 gig player. Right, like I can listen to all that. Classical, Tejano, Bob Dylan, The Clash, Yes, a number of Texas artists? Jimi Hendrix & Dead Kennedys, too. Black Sabbath. Black Flag.

Stuck in a rut?
Or, better yet, how does that lyric go? "We're caught in a trap"?

I was thinking, as I stopped at the water cooler by the First Street Bridge, I'm stuck in a rut. Get up and work on horoscopes. Tweak the audio files, fish, catch a little fish, chase another one for a few minutes, but I couldn't tease her into sticking the worm in her mouth. Work a little longer, then return some calls, set up an appointment or two, stretch again.

I skipped downtown, but I did wander by Barton Creek for a swim. Then over to Bouldin for supper. Yes, sure sounds like a rut to me, cleared a good five miles on the trail, swam, fished, wrote. good thing I'm not bored.

Midnight express to SA, then work all weekend in lovely San Antonio. Check listing for details.

Cherchez le poisson:
Pumpkin-colored worm with green metal-flakes, fish wasn't much bigger than the worm, but it is a bass, and it was in my drainage ditch, and I did catch it fair and square. Took a couple of tries, he wasn't about to give up on what he thought was food - viciously attacked the worm.
Two-meat Tuesday
image[/style> I've written and written, erased and written more, added links to appropriate sources to lend credence to the story, but I can't get a handle on it. The enormity of the hurricane situation is too much for me. Can't do it. Don't bombard me with stories, histories, or the way the 4th Estate is portraying the "truth." Like many other tasks, when I'm overwhelmed, I merely farm it out to someone who is better than me. This is one that's "not my job," and therefore, I'm not going to get a grip on it. My sleep has been interrupted by it, and I don't even own a television, so my exposure to the images is limited.

A friend was in town from overseas, so it was a few of the "typically Austin" tasks that had to be accomplished, which included a quick spin by the bookstore. I've resisted the temptation to pick up the latest from Cormac McCarthy for a while, but I finally caved in. Plus a little ditty from the remaindered stack. No Country For Old Men and The Fish's Eye.

So it was a little local cuisine, a little local bookstore, and then I wandered off into the afternoon, leaving my friend at Waterloo (Records) for some guitar slinger. She was interested in the guitar god, not me.

I've resisted the temptation to just grab and burn through No Country For Old Men because I suspect it's another one of those dense books. I can't just lightly read McCarthy's work. I was pleased, though, because next to it is one of his finest novels, and in my mind, better than the "Pretty Horses" trilogy, Blood Meridian.

I'm stuck about halfway through the critically acclaimed version of The Illiad , and I'm at that point where the carnage and slaughter is almost making me ill. The capricious gods and their whims, change with the moment, and the sons of so many Greek and Trojans all fall dead. I so enjoyed the sequel, I mean, that's me, reading books out of sequence, but the conclusion to The Odyssey worked - I enjoyed that translation.

Musical interlude (Sagittarius):
"Sometimes you wanna get higher
And sometimes you gotta start low
Some people think they gonna die someday
I got news ya never got to go" (Stranglehold - Ted Nugent)

I was looking for the lyrics for the song "Stromtrooper," and toying with loading songs on an iPod for this weekend - I can never tell what the mood will be - classical? Bach. Rock? Country? Or some Terry Allen?

As I was catching up on local gossip, another singer/songwriter's name popped up, which lead to a discourse about the relative merits of certain Texas artists (The Flatlanders, in whole or in part).

Unfiltered. Unadulterated. (Might be unpublishable, too). Maybe this should be bullet points, but I'm not sure.

One of the beauties of the "internet experience" or whatever we're calling it these days, is an entry from a weblog that goes through an article, point by point, or so it seemed. As long as folks want to dissect, I consider most "news" to be point-of-view. And I never claimed to objective, but I found this refreshing.

I can count numerous close acquaintances who have family in/from the New Orleans area. I'm not trying to be insensitive. But I turn to "big media' for their vaunted "trusted sources," and the recent coverage of the disaster in Louisiana, like many, has left me distraught. Isn't it time to start looking forward?

I always assume that there's a bias. Comes from having spent a certain amount of time in a real newsroom (old-style except for hot wax instead of hot lead). I'm also a broken, broke, bitter old fart. No claims otherwise.

Free speech
Liberal comedian sues web writer?

In-bound mail:
Not an explanation, just observations, three, then four items floated to the top. It's like the recent rain, washes trash into the river and some organic material drifts to the surface. My recent stack of incoming held, a Bass Pro catalog, the New Yorker Magazine, a MacConnection catalog, and the first of SXSW (Interactive) teasers.

The Bass Pro catalog is a wish list, and good for comparison shopping on prices. The New Yorker Magazine is a welcome look at other view points. Mac Connection has computer deals. And the SXSW flyer is the first of long series of promotions for an event I can't afford next spring. Besides, I'm working out of town, conveniently so, for part of SXSW.

Unrelated self-absorption:
I need one of these

Leftover signage:
I'm a little upset, although promised, I never found the naked ladies.

Aristocrats & Humor
It's a funny joke, okay, so the joke's not that funny any more, but the telling of the joke is hilarious. Ribald. Crude. Crossing boundaries that ought never be crossed, perhaps ever, not even in a trailer park, much less on the screen.

It's bad. The vulgarity just makes it that much worse, or funnier, sort of depends. What I enjoyed - immensely - was the delivery. Now, within the first three minutes of the film, just about every scatological, incestuous, sexual boundary was thoroughly hammered. And after that, it just slides downhill. Plus there are variation on a theme.

This is not a movie for people who are offended by crudest of crude humor. What it is, though, is a peek inside the comic world. I'm wondering, too, if the telling of the joke is the joke itself.

I laughed almost the whole way through. But then, I'm not noted for a delicate sense of humor.

Rain day
Everybody gets a rain day.

I checked the weather, looked like clouds but no rain, and I headed out the door, fishing poles in one hand, coffee in the other. As soon as I arrived at the appointed meeting spot, though, it started to rain. Not earnestly, but more than a heavy drizzle. Whatever. Sunday morning, sun wasn't even up yet, time to fish, a rare second weekend morning for fishing.

Morning rituals were observed, then just as the boat was in the water, a shot rang out. Sounded like a shot. No round landed any place close. Moments later, a sheriff's vehicle pulls up, deputy pops out, and headed off toward the underbrush.

Prudence ruled, and we spent a few moments crouched by the fence. Another series of shots were fired, and the deputy emerged from the undergrowth, "Better stay back." Not a problem, not about to take the boat out and be in clear firing range of whomever, right?

A second sheriff's car pulled up, lights blazing. Both officers headed out into the underbrush. Me and my fishing buddy, in the pre-dawn dark, ambled around behind a building. More shots. The second officer ran back to his car, grabbed a helmet and there was a distinctive noise, a shotgun shell being chambered in a riot gun.

"Better move back."

More rounds were fired.

Two officers were in the brush, three more sheriff vehicles arrive, and the heavy artillery was pulled out the trunk - in the dark - I'm guessing - looked like Colt AR-15's. Plus another riot gun.

More rounds were fired.

Me and my buddy were making nervous jokes, but it was obvious, whomever was firing? The rounds were headed out over the lake. So we just stood safely aside.

A large deputy with local, regional dialect pulled his car into the underbrush.

"Must've taken 'em down, going in to get him."

Another round sounded.

"Maybe not."

By then, we were standing behind a passenger car, and the lady driving was wrapped up in a blanket, "Oh that's just an air cannon to scare the buzzards away, I come out here almost every weekend, and this time, all the cops woke me up."

First spot we stopped, produced fish the day before, there was another boat, and one angler was asking about the slot limit on the lake.

A "slot limit" is a regulation where the fish either have to be under 14 inches or over 21 inches in order to call it a keeper. So they had one big keeper.

The rain abated, then picked back up. We trailed all over the lake, "Dude, we got three fish between us."

So I was a "no-fish catchin' fool," but we were on the lake until the rain moved in. It was a good time, after the scare. Except, I wasn't scared.

And, of course, that little delay? I missed that big fish because of that. I'm sure of it. Hey, everybody gets a rain day.

Cherchez le poisson
No memorial service here, just a guy out on the lake, fishing.

We covered a couple of areas, and although the fish were, literally, hitting the surface, jumping, the standard joke applies, at least for me, it seemed that way.

"Only way you'll catch a fish today is if one jumps in the boat."

Very funny. Ha.

"Anyone asks, just tell them we boated nine fish between the two us."


At the last minute, rain clouds starting to form up, the formerly sunny day starting to develop a nasty little chop to it, I felt the tug at the end of the line. Not just any fish, but the biggest fish of the day.

It was a means to an end.

Saturday coming down
But first, a word about walking: the new backpack?

What was I thinking?
I agreed to haul a friend out to get her teeth worked on, and since she was going to be "doped up real good" when she got out, she needed someone to drive her. It's just that it interfered with some morning fishing here in the pond, which, in fact, garnered me one fish before breakfast. Not very big, but a break of sorts.

After the oral surgery, when I scooted back in her car, to pick her up, she was having a little trouble navigating the sidewalk. However, once in the car, she was telling me that she was fine to drive herself home. She then dribbled water down her front. "Mouth's still numb, that's all," giggle.

(No, I didn't let her drive despite her solid affirmations that she was fine to drive. "I can drive, I just can't walk." Sure.)

While I was sitting in the waiting room, I was reading The Illiad, and I came across one line I rather enjoyed, Nestor, rallying the troops, "...but the gods won't give us all our gifts at once." (Book IV, line 369)

Off to the lake:
And dreams of "big fish," although to be honest, this one lake isn't noted for big fish; however, there is wonderful nature scenery everywhere. Fishing with the "Osprey," too.

Cherchez le poisson:
What's a Friday without fishing? So that's two, but the first guy was too small to be worth a picture, besides, that was before breakfast. But I did get this guy, just in time for happy hour:
Just a different point-of-view
Foamy, the squirrel with the rants, has good take, vulgar, at best, on the hurricane situation. Foamy's Hurricane Report.

Copano Bay fishing pier to change administrative hands.

Bad Science all over the place.

Eat local (kind of a no-brainer here - but I wonder if that includes Sandy's Thursday-Saturday special?)

So I was late arriving at Sandy's as Bubba & Bubbette were polishing off a couple of cones. We chatted until the little woman decided it was still hot outside, and there was some question as to when ACL Fest was going to occur. it's not this weekend, and as such, there's certain quietude pervading the landscape.

From the math dept.:
image[/style>I know I'm doing this wrong, but the way it works, the usual special has gone up in price. It's now $2.79, or, with cheese and tax, $3.40. Plus the sign is gone. So dinner cost $3.40, but a double shot of espresso at Jo's which was about $2, then some Amy's to top off the espresso? $3.25. So dessert cost more than the meal itself. All in the name of getting some laundry done.

However, I did arrive at the perfect balance, at least in the ice cream (Mexican Vanilla) - an Amy's "small" plus just two shots of Jo's espresso.

Cherchez les poissons:
Which is a colorful view of the Thursday morning's catch, a purple worm and frog-looking Zara Spook.
image image

As fishing footnote, I was having entirely too much fun with the fish. Some folks might've been frustrated, but that pair of bass from the other day?

They kept circling. They'd hear the little fishes feeding and chasing my lures, and they'd pop on around to see what was up. Some of the littler fellers would grab the baits, but them small guys couldn't get the hook in their wee tiny Large Mouth. Resulted in many nibbles, but few real takers. In other words, my real targets? The bigger fish? They wouldn't take the bait.

It really was entirely too much fun, though, as I was using everything, throwing topwater, plastics, everything. It was chance to see what worked. Or what didn't work.

Perk up
Well, this merely concurs with what I've observed for a long time.

Almost worthy of a "well, duh."

I fished, worked, fished, caught a couple of perch and one bass, but he got back in the water before I remembered the camera.

I was using nothing but light line, light rod, light reel, and a hook with a worm. Sort of an interesting approach, for me.

I made a sarcastic comment about "vegetarian chili" to its gourmand. I didn't really mean it, but I found "vegetarian chili" to be obscurely funny. Chili should be a like a stew, cruddy old beef pieces (and other animal) parts plus peppers. No beans.

The part that was amusing, I'd just eaten some Vietnamese cuisine, heavy on the tofu. Hey, it's what what I was hungry for at the time.
On the way home, as I meandered the downtown streets, I got hit up for spare change an alarming number of times.

I'm not really rich these days, haven't won the lottery yet, sort of at the break even point with business, but I did detour out of my way to slip Eddy a five dollar bill.

Eddy (Taurus) has no legs. And yet, every day, at least when I see him, he's cheerful, kind, has a nice word to say to me, and, most important, he never asks for money. He will gladly accept mine, but that's by choice.

This week's Leo link at the end of this week's Capricorn scope is going to resonate well with next week's audio message.

As you were:
I plugged a whole bunch of Red Cross links into the scopes, especially last week's, but at the last minute, I had a change of heart. I'm not cold and bitter, or maybe I am, but I figure if the average person wants to do something, there's plenty of local action. or you can use this:


Two Meat Tuesday
image[/style> "21 Days on the Road: Wondering where we're going to go from here. 21 days on the road, I'd go home but my home's right here." Which is certainly what it feels like from time to time, more time on the road than at home. Why change up what seems to work for me? But I travel cheap. I may be cheap, too, but that's not part of the question & answer session now, now is it?

Cherchez les poissons:
Just back, just tossed a line and look here, two nice, healthy examples of gaping maws of Large Mouth Bass:
image image

March of progress
Back story - my buddy, one of the guys I was traveling with - he was being leaned on by his wife to rent a fishing guide for a little while, to show him around the flats. Old salt to show us punks a thing or two.

Pulling his boat out one afternoon, my buddy noticed "Reeling N Ron" had a boatload of 10-11 year old kids.

"If he can handle them I'm sure he can handle us."

I got "the look." I may be older now, but I'm no less mature.

So that's how I wound up on another fishing guide's boat, and that's how I wound up with some Redfish. Big Redfish. Free-lining some live bait, little piggy perch. Both times, I'd see the tip of the pole move, barely a twitch, and I'd gently lift it up from the pole holder, and then it was away we go.

Charlotte Plummer's had the hook-up on what to do with a couple of keeper Reds - BYOF meal-deal. Had those bad-boys blackened. Proved to be almost too much. Excellent meal. Well, except for the hush puppies, not up to the usual standards for friend dough, but the rest of the meal was good. THe fish itself, caught fresh that morning? Ron himself did the honors of cleaning, and he did an excellent job of looking after us on the boat, too.

Shakespeare 7-foot Ugly Sticks, Penn Reels, Big Game line, and steel leaders. He parked us on some fish, we got a couple of undersized Reds, then, after changing location, it was "fish on" for me. One of the the pictures, I was trying, and unsuccessful, at capturing the sun rise over the backside of San Jose island, the orange orb of the sun casting a long and glistening reflection, a stripe of orange right along the rippling surface of the water.

Hard to tell from the picture,s but one of those Reds was almost 28 inches long. Never weighed them, and the other was close 24 inches, maybe 26, I don't recall.

Amazing experience.

I stopped off for a quick overnight in San Antonio, on the way back. Again, bowing to peer pressure, I saw "March of the Penguins." I'd recommend it, but there might be some problem, like the part where the guy penguins balance the egg on their feet for months at a time, just as a show of devotion. Those guy penguins go something like 4 months without food, helping the girl penguins. Don't get any ideas.

Musical notations:
"Didn't get to sleep that night 'til the morning came around...." (Friend of the Devil - Hunter/Garcia)

"Du-dat" (Yes) "Look right away ... Close to the edge down by the river...."

Then Lyle Lovett was singing about his boat.

And that little ditty from Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2

The train was pulling into the Austin Station just as "Freebird!" cycled up on the iPod.

Reeling with Ron
"C'mon dude, you'll like."

I succumbed to peer pressure - again - and I managed the only keepers for the day. Two nice-sized Reds.

Sun & Moon & Tides
Sun's in Virgo, Moon's in Virgo, beach life, for a moment, it's good.

Off to the coast.
Yeah, coastal and western. Try and "get away for a spell."

Thursday's special at Sandy's. The neon is still gone, apparently taken out by an errant driver.

I've soaked up as much hurricane coverage as I can, and I'm sorry. I'll float a Red Cross link at the top of the scopes for a while, too. Next stop? San Antonio then onwards to the Texas Gulf Coast. See what there is that can be done.

Local reactions to the dire circumstances via British Press.

And perhaps one of the more eloquent local voices, Jette (she's from there).

More by Jette.

Cherchez le poisson:
Just one. Tiny. Not that I didn't have other fish, but only picture.

The big girls and boys were gathered as a gang, and i watched as they drifted by, none of them, I counted six trophy-sized fellers in there, but none of them liked what I was throwing at them. But they had heard of me, I recognized them, there's that one big one with the thing on her side, the girlfriend, the one with the banged up nose, and the one that went sliding down the side one time, all there.

Fears - biggest fears
Exploding teeth aren't nearly as bad as some perceptions. Or it could just be me. NOAA Texas Hurricane History.

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and the government when it deserves it."
- Mark Twain

Stuck in the middle (with you):
Gratuitous musical/movie/cover tune interlude. I was looking over the scopes, and I was thinking about an Austin-neighborhood mailing list. Seems that a number of the liberals here are upset that UT Austin is one proposed site for the George W. Bush Presidential Library. (80% of my precinct did not vote for the current president.) But I'm leaving politics out of this. The problem is too many folks seem to equate me with Texas. That's true, very true.

In the same day, I've had two different vehicles parked in my visitor's spot, right by the ole trailer here. One had sticker that read "W The President." Obviously, a show of support for the Republican side of life. The other had a sticker that was just a letter W surrounded by the international red circle and slash.

This theme is repeated, while I was ambling through a certain office building's parking lot, sort of a shortcut towards downtown. Really a long-cut, but whose counting? It's an official State of Texas employee parking lot. Same theme, "Bush '04" and the ubiquitous W with the red circle and slash, on vehicles parked side-by-side.

And where do I stand? I like living where I live. I like being in a society where I can have two diametrically opposing view points sit on my crouton, one right after the other, and I can hear and concur with either argument.

It's not so much that I'm a fence-sitter, it's just that it's a matter of separating the politics from the questions.

So don't equate me with Texas if Texas pisses you off. It's just where I live. It's matter of separating the news from the news.

Sort of September
I couldn't help but think of that song all day. Got me wondering who penned it in the first place - supposedly, Big Joe (or Poor Joe on one page) Williams. Which leads to a question about relief for the folks hit by the hurricane.

What can I do?
It's a fair question, originally spurred by me reading this post. Lefties and right-wing conservatives alike, it's still our country, and we have a pretty much "roll up our sleeves and we'll fix it ourselves" attitude.

Red Cross

And in other news:
Apple's long rumored iTunes iPhone is set for a September announcement, so it would seem. What's amusing is that the normally tight-lipped companies are still tight lipped, and this would lead to some conjecture, strictly on my part, that the press conjecture might be a little off. However, when a bastion like the New York Times reports it, then it must be so?

Quoting several sources: "Apple, Motorola and Cingular declined to confirm or deny the report."

Cherchez les poissons:
"Darling, you need to catch some bigger fish," she said.
image image

Black bass, early morning, in the creek:

image image

(I spent way too much time chasing after some bigger girls in the lake, but they would never deign to take my bait. Wait, is there such a thing as "too much time fishing"?)

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Two-meat Tuesday
While the stories about the hurricane poured in? I was listening to chatter on the TV at the restaurant while news drifted in, much of the news feed was unsubstantiated, but it looks like water seeks its own level. As a tidbit? An international plea for help? I'm sure, though, everyone is inundated with hurricane coverage by now. It's hit the saturation point.

Equipment review:
It's getting to the point, where I spend so much time actually carrying a load, that I'm looking for an option other than a shoulder bag. Enter the Eclipse Solar Bag. So far, the best I can say about the bag is that it's the perfect size. couple of well-thought out design points impressed me, like the pocket arrangements, and the way the solar panel is attached. Perfect size for my commuting. I can't say I've used the solar panel, and its built-in cigarette-lighter type of plug seems a little odd. But then, that's the industry standard these days. Otherwise, seems like the perfect pack, so far.

Bonus features: it's a local company.

What I've said before (part I):
I recall telling a Pisces person this: the Gulf is overdue for a major hurricane. If I could only find a dated statement in print....

What I've said before (part II):
In my particular field, I've always assumed that there is bias. Just part of the way I've seen astrological research done, time and again. I started writing about this, and it's included in the introduction to the romance guide. So the findings of this one scientific paper isn't really news, not to me.

One goal in life, in my life anyway, is to try and live my life in such a fashion as to have as few regrets as a possible. Don't want to wake up one day and say, "If only I'd done this instead," or "I should've done that." Or worse, "Wished I'd done that when I could."

The Big Easy is under water, and Sunday night, it was Cat 5, but by landfall Monday morning, the new reports I was getting suggested Cat 4, and dropping. Looked like it was looping north, maybe northeast, marching through Mississippi.

The first regret was not heading straight to the Superdome to ride the storm out. That would've been entertaining, right in the thick of it. Superdome's supposed to withstand 200 MPH winds, so it would've been safe.

The other regret, and this is a serious one, "Hey, Mom, I'm heading over to Louisiana now..." Perfect Monday morning phone call. But seriously folks:
I just got around to the new article in the New Yorker magazine about Kinky's bid for governor. How I feel the pain. Last time I saw Kinky Friedman, he did have that hollow-eyed look, like "I've been on the road for 21 days...."

More serious:
Coffee as a vitamin (anti-oxident) source? So coffee is now a health drink.

Less serious:
Life in a man-made lake?

Movie time
Brothers Grimm and Dukes of Hazzard?

Fairy Tales: The last time I looked, the critics were bad-mouthing the big-budget, high-flying "The Brothers Grimm" movie. All I could recall was that the critical mass of people-in-the-know suggested it wasn't that good of a film. Which only means I liked it that much more. Brothers Grimm. Fairy Tale. Want to bet they all live happily ever after? On hot afternoon in San Antonio? Good escape. Live happily ever after.

Worked for me. But a mainstream blend of myth and fantasy, plus some old school fairy tales?

More modern fairy tales: Part of what worked for me, remember, my antecedents here, I'm a white boy who was raised on the "Southern Guitar Armies" of Skynyrd and their ilk, plus I'd have to consider ZZ Top to be one of the best bands - ever - so consider what came first and this is a simple situation wherein a historical perspective makes all the difference.

I laughed and enjoyed myself all the way through the movie. it wasn't high-brow art. It barely qualifies as low brow. There were one or two musical licks I didn't get immediately. But as a whole, it was a laugh a minute. Something about car chases, and Burt Reynolds, and the evil doers getting a come-uppance?

Plus, and this was a big one, Willie Nelson delivering one bad joke right after another. I'm sure some critic someplace will claim Saint Willie didn't do any acting. Who cares? Girls, guns, fast cars, and the General Lee, flying through the air, like it's supposed to.

On a hot afternoon in San Antonio? Perfect escape. Absolutely loved the movie.

A sure of the Apocalypse
Perhaps I live in an insular world, but with Katrina threatening to blow away my upcoming plans, I've got to wonder.

Pink Floyd. Animals. In a store? Like, as product? Being sold to a generation, unsuspecting - or even aware - of the original meaning?


Road trip, part number whatever
In SA for the weekend. A quick cell phone update, too?

Then, absolutely, the best T-shirt I've seen in a while, in bright orange, dark letters:

Tu Eres un Pendejo
(you are my friend)

Perfect. Perfect for some many tourists.

Sidebar item:
Sister in the news again.

Sidebar item:
Hank III will be featured in the October PlayGirl. Huh.

Nothing to see here, move along.
Just random stuff, for a Saturday morning.

Sidebar item:
One of the places I frequent, Dancing Moon (hint: it's a "head shop" to me), has a workshop this weekend: Sex, Laundry and Spirituality. Nice title. I'll miss it, but that's not a big deal, not for me. Topics I cover most every day, around here.

"Man, that's all you ever do at home, laundry..."

Sidebar item:
Big Bend and the real estate deal that didn't fly, hint: this is just an opinion on my part. I was reading The Houston Chronicle's version of the story, after first reading about it from a local (here in Austin).

In a nutshell, the guy who owns Cibolo Creek Ranch (it's a dude ranch that costs a lot) wanted to add to his holdings, probably do some kind a of development or enlarge his outfit, and the packaged a deal with the state. At the last minute, the deal collapsed under public scrutiny.

My guess is it's the whiny eco-types. Wait, I'm one of those.

This is a case of right idea, wrong approach. Times have changed and the way business and government are conducted has changed. For better or worse? I'm not sure, but from my exposure to Cibolo Creek Dude Ranch, I'd suggest that the owner is as good a steward of the land as the State. Perhaps even a better steward, only, like many of the finer points, it would cost a lot to see what he had.

The salient points? The way business is conducted, in an open manner, and the pallor of the smoky back-room deals is gone. Too bad, because like I've suggested, I'm confident that the guy from Cibolo Creek would actually care more for the land than the state currently does.

It's all over, now, anyway, so it doesn't matter. It is a pretty piece of countryside, especially if high desert is attractive. But then, I've been partial to the Big Bend area for years.

Yes, so?
Last week's focus was opera, this week's focus? Possible tragedy, here at home, or maybe it's just what I get for being gone for so long. The sign at Sandy's was gone. Same special, same deal, but no sign. Which is too bad because that was a favorite piece of neon artwork.

"What happened?" I asked.

"It's gone," the counter help explained.

"But what happened?"

"No more sign."

We were returning from the mall, and another trip to a cell phone store to try and sort out the phone systems. I'm still recovering from the near-sighted manufacturers who don't make cell phones "water resistant." Least they could do, you think.

So the port for a number is underway, so I've been assured. We'll see. Huh.
Unrelated (except that I have fondness for the folks there):
Midland, Texas, is looking for folks whop moved away, trying to bring them home.

Tiny Fish Tales:
Two small fish, one was a bass, for sure, and he was a feisty one, especially for his size. Then a bunch of larger perch, but only one phone picture.

Common grounds
I like that idea, as I've gotten a little bit better at "scrying" in coffee grounds, especially if it's from a decent shot of Seattle coffee. Hate to admit it, but they do coffee better than we do. But this isn't about telling one's future in a cup of coffee, it's about Dooms Day Cults. I think I really should start one.

image[/style>I've seen three "worst case" scenario cults lately. I'm not linking, and I'm not throwing any traffic - or attention - to any of my little new age friends. Frankly, I'm pretty sure it's just another get rich quick trick. Which I should employ, but I couldn't lie to the public with a straight face. I wonder, is anyone else missing a wink here?

Here are the common elements, elders, guides, spirits, or just plain old made-up stuff - it all points to the world coming to end, "big changes are ahead," the familiar tag line. End of the world stuff.

The alien life forms who communicate with the spirit world who built the pyramids on Mars, which is going to be so close it looks bigger than the moon, they are coming back.

In the words of one of my friends, "Jesus is coming: look busy."

Big changes. 2012, end of the world. Next year, end of the world? Earth changes.

I like the earth changes material, it shows an inland sea between East Austin and where Houston is. I'd have a real trailer on the beach. Makes my day.

I was dragging a load of laundry to the laundromat, and I got thinking about this. Mundane stuff. If the world is really going to end, who, other than my own mother, would be worried about whether I have clean underwear for the apocalypse? In fact, if I thought the world was going to end, I'd probably be doing something else instead of worrying about clean sheets, and washing my collection of travel-worn clothing.

I'm guessing, five years, that must represent the extent that folks can remember the last hue and cry of the doom's day cults, the dreaded Y2K "fin de siècle" debacle. The internet was going to grind to a stop. Power plants would stop making electricity. Toads would rain down from the sky and general anarchy would take over. Which might have happened, but you could fool me with that last one.

But it didn't happen.

New Year's Eve, Y2K, I was in Dallas. Just after midnight, I stepped outside for a smoke. The Dallas icon, that Pegasus from the Magnolia Building, it was still shining brightly in the winter's sky.

So we had electricity. That's a start. If there hadn't been so many older folks at the party I was at, I would've run around to the breaker box and flipped the main switch, once or twice, just to give them all a good scare.

The more I looked at each of the "end of the world" bits, the more I kept thinking, "Y2K - all over again."

To be sure, the world is changing. But coming to an end? The end of humanity, as we know it?

I was reminded of a quote from some dead Greek guy, and no, I don't have it in the original language anymore, but: "The only constant is change."

Then again, I might just start a "Fishing Guide to the Stars End-of-the-World Club."

Admission is only $2.95 for 30 days. Act now while the offer is still good.

The Opera:
What's cool, on more than one level, I just got done seeing Wagner's much vaunted "Ring Cycle," in its entirety. The most famous bit from that is, of course, the Ride of the Valkyries. Made famous, perhaps more than the opera itself, in a movie. Which piqued my curiosity. That plus an uncle who is far more than just an aficionado, which only makes for a far richer experience.

The final opera in the saga, Gotterdammrung, is a fairly convoluted piece. Lots of plot, musical and textual references to the previous bits in the epic, and it's all pretty weird. I have a note, scribbled in the dark of the opera's theater, about Mars Retrograde, Scorpio (and Taurus), plus that little bit with Brunhilda and her magic.

Act III, or thereabouts, Siegfried, the hero's hero, get whacked. Now, Brunhilda, being the good witchy wife that she was, she had cast spell, basically, to protect her boyfriend from attack. And since she knew that her spouse wold never turn his back on an enemy, she just didn't bother to protect his back. Literally, or so the story goes.

So the evil nemesis learns about her little slip in the magic department, and when the bad guy gets a chance, he nails ole Siegfried with a spear in the back.

Eventually, after a lot of orchestra and opera singing, Siegried's body and the ring are returned to the water. The little - okay, they were opera singers, maybe "little" isn't the right word - water nymphs get their gold back. Harmony is restored, but anyone who touched the ring is made to suffer with its curse. The whole plot to begin with.

Gotterdammrung is about the twilight of the gods, the end of the world. The opera cycle is seeing a revived interest, and it seems to be playing in more places these days. Just another example of the doom's day cults.

After the fact?
Love these questions, it's more like a ritual blessing to an answer rather than a real consultation question, and that's what amuses me. Found this clip over at Extreme Wisdom.

More clips?
Just a silly one.

Gemini note:
I wandered into a local "hippie" coffee stop to meet a client, grab a bite, and have a "double on the rocks," as is my typical Austin afternoon.

The diminutive form behind the counter, as she turned out to be, was a Gemini, and fare weas serviceable, but I was bit taken by the apron she had on. It was a certain shade of green, with a certain brand name of a chain of coffee houses, and that usual (sanitized) logo of the goddess of caffeine.

"Oh, that's amusing," I wryly smirked. "I thought so, too" she added.

Gemini, as I was able to ascertain. Then I had to answer her question, "Harmless Sagittarius."

"I like that," she countered, "simple."

Just a couple of more points
It's through the act of travel, it's through the act of going, not sitting, that we get a chance to grow. It's a matter of getting out from under one's own rock, so to speak. Or type.

I'll run along with the typing as long as the battery holds out, but I'll be in Austin before I can post anything. Or answer e-mail.

The "shared van" shuttle driver was a more comforting change from my previous experience, but he was like the weatherman, apparently, anything over about 70 degrees is too warm. At 70? I still need, like, a sweater - or something. "Hot" doesn't start until it the temp starts to approach "a hunnert." Or so.

"That's Starbucks right there, and they lease some space to Office Max. And over there is Amazon."


I've got to start doing a Fishing Guide to the Stars[/ur> Guide to the Ring Cycle series. I just figure it's a perfect medium. Inspired, as it is, by my uncle's ongoing research and his other efforts to understand the music, the showmanship, plus the psychic and psychological underpinnings to the myths and the story itself.

His afternoon "lectures" would evolve into a lively discussion, centered around the libretto, the music, the way certain themes echo back and forth in the individual operas and how the cycle hangs together as a whole. Plus, no doubt influenced by his two daughters, there's a post-modern, almost post-feminist way of looking at the shows. Heavy German opera, as long as one if going for high art? Might as well go for high art.

I had Gotterdammrung on the iPod, for the flight home. Because, in the words of my uncle, "Just when you thought Wagner couldn't pull out any better orchestration, along comes the conclusion to the cycle...."

Which prompted that joke, but no one - other than my Sister - got the joke. I'm not sure what that means, either.

(Newman, Ernest. The Wagner Operas. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.)

I hope I can recall the important points from the lectures. Discussions. Seems like most of the important figures in the opera cycle all have strong-willed women (females) pushing them around.

Austin? Austin's home.

[blockquote>"Whatever happens to you has been waiting to happen since the beginning of time. The twining strands of fate wove both of them together: your own existence and the other things that happen to you."
(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book X, #5)

Which was weird, I as I read a copy of the Tao Te Ching on the flights home. Flight, one plane, several stops, like a bus in the sky, or so it would seem.

One of my opera cousins recommended this one particular translation. I happened across it not two days later, and I was reading it on the way home, trying to fit 2,500 year-old Chinese-based philosophy with Norse myth and Germanic opera.

Like that makes any sense.

So out pops Marcus Aurelius, and somehow, that's a good book to tie it all together.

Did I mention Austin is home?

Final thoughts:
image[/style> Ma Wetzel, and I quote, again, "One of these days, I'll learn to work that machine, and then I'll print a retraction for everything you've said, or said that I've said when I didn't say it all."

But I have witnesses. Guess that doesn't matter. "Oh, you. That's not what I meant."

But it is what she said.

My own dear Libra Dad was digging around in my luggage, "Where's your camera? I need to get a picture of you two."

Yes, it's that time of the year again, when all our thoughts become more precise. More Virgo-like.

One of my personal goals in life is to live in such a way as to have as few regrets as possible. But there's one regret I do have over this last week, the zombie question. I'll never figure out what zombies had to do with that one opera. But I'm sure there's a connection.

I was watching the local news, as I got ready to leave, and the local weather came on, "It's going to get up to 70 today, but at least it'll be a pleasant 70 degrees...."

Ring wrap up
(subtitle: sleepless in Seattle)

Just wrapping up and digesting the whole Ring Cycle

We bantered about a number of theories about the true meaning of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, all the operas in the cycle, all 43 hours of music, all the plot, all the plot holes, everything.

I was thinking about it, and see, the problems all start with the Rhine Babes, the girls guarding the gold in the first opera. They keep teasing this poor dwarf, and he finally gets good and righteously irritated, then he forswears all love in exchange for power. Love or money? He goes for the gold.

See, the problem starts with the Rhine babes, as depicted as mermaids, this time around. Pretty little coy fishes that defy being caught. Cherchez la femme? Yeah, it all goes back to chasing girls, doesn’t it?

So the curse, the ill will, and the downfall of the gods, fiddling while Valhalla burns, all of that goes back to that poor guy who got spurned by the bimbos swimming in the creek. Means something.

I came across another idea, and I’m hoping I can work this one out, it’s about Mars being where Mars is, and what Mars is going to do, all about that. And a character from the opera.

“I like your quotes, Kramer, I just wish you quoted me accurately, in your column.”
(Ma Wetzel and I have witnesses. Not that three witnesses means much to a determined Scorpio.)

Family (liner) notes:
“It takes time to raise parents.”

“You get a little older and they (parents) do some serious growing up.”

One of my cousins spent time in NYC and then Santa Fe, associated with the opera in both places. And he loved, so he claimed, the brilliance of the New Mexico lifestyles, except, as a native Northwestern person, there’s just not enough water.

He was carrying on about how Santa Fe could be, in one moment, so beautiful and then, at the same time, have something delightfully tacky – right next to it. So it could be tacky, tasteless and artful, all at the same time.

“Oh you’d like my version of Texas then,” I explained, “tacky, right next to more tacky.”

The point, since it’s lost on so much of my family, is that it is what it is. Which, in its defense, I have to admire about the portion of the Seattle area I’ve been exposed to thus far, it doesn’t claim to be something that it’s not.

Heavy Metal - heavy mental
It's the end of the world, more or less, at least it's the end of the cycle.

The opera is over, and I keep lamenting the fact that so many of my opera jokes go unnoticed and certainly unappreciated by the larger number of folks I know. Or opera weirdo folks don't get some of the outside jokes, like, how the orchestra really rocks, "Dude, this orchestra goes to eleven!"

Prior to seeing and hearing this cycle, my favorite "Ring" t-shirt was a "Gotterdammrung" shirt with the name of the opera spelled in a letter form that looked just like heavy metal/goth/speed punk/hair metal band's name. I don't know if it was intentional on the part of the t-shirt designer, as I doubt there's much crossover between the metal crowd and the opera crowd.

"I'll tell you what that opera is all about, it's about 'don't mess with heavy soprano women,' that's what it's all about."

And as Valhalla goes up in flames? "It's better to burn out than fade away..."

This year's favorite shirt, thus far? "Much Ado About Nothung."

Funny, and it tickles me several ways. Nothung is the sword passed from god to son in opera II, then reassembled for dragon-slaying in opera III. Pronounced "Note-hung," near as I can tell. Not like I'm good with spitting out Germanic pronunciation, in the first place, by name notwithstanding.

In one coffee shop, in the Seattle area, some young lady was asking me if I saw "Much Ado About Nothing," like, at the park, the free Shakespeare. No, this year the only one I saw was Richard III.

Heavy mental:
image[/style>I've been observing people, just what I like to do. There are two parts, really, one is running into an old high school buddy. The other side is watching the young people working in the coffee shops. In Texas, at least, in Austin, there would be a strict health code "thingy" that would require "closed-toe footwear." I'm not sure about the wording, or what it all means, but I'm pretty sure it's a local requirement, if not state-wide.

I first noticed it in one coffee shop in Seattle, while my brain was flying with the a fresh shot of caffeine. Girls behind the counter were all wearing flip-flops. For real. Then I noticed that flip flops and jeans, or leggings, or even shorts on the nicer afternoons was considered "appropriate."

So as I shuffled around in my sandals, I realized I wasn't that out of place, and, in fact, it makes more sense in such a wet environment, the flip-flops. Too bad the folks back home aren't as enlightened. Just means I won't be working in a coffee shop anytime too soon, other than as an office space.

The coffee shops I frequented in Seattle feel remarkably homey to me. Compared with that one place in Dallas, where the coffee was good, but it still felt like "Dallas," at times. Austin and Seattle? Much closer to reality, at least, as I understand it. And Seattle? Coffee's way good.
Even better.

Bunch of flowers
There's a bunch of flower pictures, from Pike Market Place, or whatever the spot is called, up in an earlier post. I was wandering in and amongst the flower stalls, looking for something to take back to the hotel room, trying to remember, what flowers make Ma Wetzel sneeze so?

(And the flowers that make her sneeze? Unlike some members of my immediate family, I dont' try to get the flowers that make the 'wee Scorpio mum' sneeze. I earn enough aggravation as it is, thank you very much.)

While I was following the Monorail's path, as a trail, I was making an attempt gather my thoughts and com up with just one coherent image, a single way to describe Seattle.

It's a plenty funky town, that's for sure, and I fit right in, except for the fact that I don't have any tattoos, but other than that? I'm not even a blip on the radar screen, one way or another.

Twice, one with my father, and again, a little later with my mother, I had Sagittarius baristas making us caffeine - based beverages. Just weird, like that.

The image, though, from Seattle? Good points? Cars stop for pedestrians. No, I mean, unlike home, the cars and drivers actually obey the law, and yield to the pedestrians. That's a big plus.

However, one morning, there was a guy driving along, in a new mini-cooper convertible, top down, just smiling and as happy as could be. In the drizzle. Not rain, but not sun, so the driver was happy. With the top down. Mark me, precipitation.

Siegfried's Cutlery & Dragon Removal, part II

Sifting through broken shards of conversations, something said in the last five days, bits and pieces replaying in my mind.

I took a long hike through downtown Seattle, shuffling along against a cloudy morning sky, but as the day wore on, the fog burned off. Must've covered several miles. Then good Thai food, then the opera.

At this late hour, the family, in various extractions, are still discussing nuances of the show we all saw. The happy one.

Siegfried's Cutlery & Dragon Removal

For just one minute, for just a few hours, I want to live in a land far away, filled with myth and magic, perhaps, too, a place where the women are women and the men do manly things. Like slay dragons.

And, for just one minute, I'm going to escape into just such a fantasy world, and I'm going to pretend that all of this opera stuff means something. Or maybe it's just a good excuse to avoid reality, but whatever works? Works.

At the end of the second opera, Brunhilda was put to permanent sleep until some kind of a bad boy braved the wall of flame, and woke her warrior-ass up. She was a mean god-ling, you know, the one who sings, "Kill the wabbit, kills the wabbitt!"

She disobeys her daddy, and naughty children, even they don't spring from the loins of the god's wife, you know, daughters should always obey their daddies. Always.

So she's passed out and the world is headed into hell in a bucket. Siegmund and Sieglinda tried to elope, but her husband killed Siegmund, but not before he managed to knock up Sieglinda. Love child, daytime TV style, even - Sieglinda and Siegmund are brother and sister. Confused? Stay tuned.

Brunehilda hauls the pregnant Sieglinda away, and for doing so, Brunehilda is put to sleep. Remember, she's sleeping in a ring of fire.

So Siegfried (the opera, #3) opens with the love child of Seigmund and whatshername, the brother and sister deal, and Siegfried is raised by a horrible dwarf. Siegfried tells the dwarf to bugger off, and Siegfried himself forges the broken shards of the magic sword into a single blade. The dwarf never could do this. In effect, in a symbolic way, the young Siegfried is overcoming childhood adversity, symbolic taking his daddy's sword and putting it back together again?

Act II, Siegfried slays the dragon. Makes young Siegfried "Siegfried the Psychic."

Act III, Siegfried climbs the mountain, goes through the wall of fire, finds the girl, kisses her, and she wakes up. They live happily ever after. Curtain.

One cousin was a voice of dissension, "Hey, she gets to be his house wife? That's happily ever after? I don't think so. What's happy about that? She used to be a warrior, her daddy's favorite, now she cleans up after Siegfried? Again, how's that happy?"

It's fiction. Made up story. They were in love. Live happily ever after. End of story. Until later, of course. Anything that appears to end happily? Rarely is it over until ....

Time for a break. Of course, you've heard it before, I've used it, I'm sure, the familiar refrain about needing a break from vacation?

The zombies note? What was that from, something to do with the plot of the opera, too. If I write long enough, I'll figure it out. Maybe not, either.

According to family lore, the concept that a body needs a day off from the Ring Cycle, in its entirety, isn't such a bad idea. I passed on a "family lunch with a Valkyrie," some kind of a fund-raiser, I'm sure, and when it comes to fund raising, I'm notoriously poor.


I wandered off towards Pike's Market, and I was in search of a particular place. I think I've seen this destination before, and it was more like I was searching for some kind of connection - the first Starbucks. Seriously, back from a time, maybe not so long ago, when the idea of a coffee shop was more like a little local place, an afternoon stopping point to pause and reflect, perhaps share in conversation. Or just eavesdrop, as I do, typically. I did hit the original, and I noted, through a couple of pictures, that the logo is slightly different from the Starbucks' chain's ubiquitous logo. A little less sanitary? Looks like very naked breasts on that goddess critter in the original logo, not covered up, nips and all.

Plus, although it was served in the usual paper cup, the espresso itself reflected that slightly smoother "Seattle" roast. I'm not sure what it is, but the concept caught up with me in Dallas, a few weeks back, and I took note. Then, over and over, in a number of Seattle spots, I've discovered that there is a definite character to the way the local coffee is served, in its most special form: espresso.

The market place was alive with colors, fresh flowers being as primary product. And fish. And there did seem to be a disproportionate number of book dealers, too. All items to warm the heart, "No pictures, please," said the sign.

Visible from the plane, winging in, I recall seeing the Seattle Opera's sign. Right by the Space Needle. Which dates to 1962, not 1964, as I was trying to recall. And then, from the space needle, I took the monorail to downtown. Round trip ticket? $3.50

Ticket to the top of the space needle? $13. I was wondering if they had a discount on one-way tickets on that space needle ride, too.

Just a little north, maybe just blocks, of downtown, the district is heavy into the arts. I was thrilled when I wandered into chain record store - a huge section was devoted to Opera. Two patrons were discussing the previous evening's performance, the relative merits, the strength of Wotan's voice, and the director's decision to put a certain scene in a particular setting. On the sound system, in-store? Flying Burrito Brothers.

Moon's in Aquarius? Think that's it? I'm guessing, but the concomitant full-moon-mania is stirring. The locals are restless.

Wednesday afternoon, the sun burned a hole in a Seattle's clouds. I think the folks here owe me one. I left sunglasses behind - on purpose - just so this would happen.

Running and Gunning


Traveling with family, it was Sister first: "Hey, look at this: when it rains it snows, doesn't it?" Looks like rain today. Around here, I'm not sure if that's a surprise.

Watching a little tiny corner of Seattle wake up - I'm still on Central time, so it's the middle of the day - to me. But here, it's early morning. There's the pronounced Northwestern accent, at least, I'm starting, after a day, to get some semblance of a hint about the accent.

And the average coffee here is better than most of the coffee in Texas. I thought about that over a tiny cup of very smooth espresso at some local chain. Not a Starbucks kind of a chain, just a couple of hole-in-the-wall places. My Texas stickers are treated with deep suspicion, seeing as how I don't look like anyone out of the ordinary around here.

I've got to make it to the top of the Space Needle, too. Just have to. Make it up there before I make it to the top of the tower in San Antonio. Just fitting.

Pre-Opera notes: "Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!!"

(Sister's version of getting ready for the opera.) Die Walkure:
For someone who doesn't understand it all, I rather enjoyed the show. Couple of long, textually heavy (plot) parts in the second part. Worked well.

Sister was all teary-eyed. She cried when they fell in love, she cried when they were rent asunder, she cried when the god said good-bye to the demoted god-child.


"Oh the one I saw in Germany, they camped it up some."

"Yeah, and the idea that Brunhilda is now a housewife. Or she will be."

Travels and travails
I've heard the term "Golden Dawn" used a lot in San Antonio. Not where I'm at - Seattle. I thought about that term as I watched a rosy-fingered dawn awake while I was at Austin's airport.

ring05[/style> I did show up at the airport barefoot, as is my current summer travel style. Passed through security then pull out some sandals. (Piper Sandals, handmade in San Antonio.) Finished dressing after getting through security.

Another lone barefoot, Hawaiian shirt wearing, reeking of patchouli person afloat in a sea of suits.

Always try to make the days more surreal, whenever and wherever I am.

"You participate in society by your existence, Then participate in its life through your actions -- all of your actions. Any action not directed toward a social end (directly or indirectly) is a disturbance to your life, an obstacle to wholeness, a source of dissension."
(Marcus Aurelius - Meditations - Book Nine, #23)

Writers & Poets dot org? (Note to self; self, what was that link for?)

Notes from the back of an air-sick bag:
Reading Alubrquerque and then looking at the window of the plane and seeing the Sandia Crest, the sprawling 'burbs creeping up its flank.

Lubbock - Las Vegas - Seattle. I'll be back in Vegas in a little while. I hope.

"Flying over the hump," not in its original meaning, but as a point, referring to winging back and forth across the western United States, especially if it means getting over the Rocky Mountains.

Opera notes:
Rather good show, near as I could tell. "All those Opera World people, you know."

No, I don't. doubt I will, either.

Wotan was good. "Secular Humanism - the downfall of the opera."

Tomorrow night, it's Johnny Cash Night - like the main character in Die Walkurie? He fell into a ring of fire.

But Sister had T-shirts made up, and we're all supposed to wear them - to the opera.

One of my cousins had the best commentary, "Oh no, Siegfried isn't the best, see, Brunhilda is Valkyrie and then she's just a house wife? I don't think so."

Breakfast boot note
I'm not sure what's weirder.

"You know what Dear Abby says, right?"

"Yeah, that's why she's single and old and bitter, and writing advice columns."

Wouldn't know, myself.

So it was brief snippet from breakfast time, not much of a note, other than the Taurus waiter has been at Magnolia, off and on, for more than ten years.

"Oh, you were waiting on him?" He asked, as I slid into the final seat, "too bad."

He grinned.

Weird day with not one, but two people recognizing me from swimming in the springs.

first was an Aquarius, and neither her nor I was sure about where we'd seen each other before. The other was the Leo hostess at the place where we all ate dinner.

Too early flight to Seattle. Too tired. Maybe I'll pass out on the plane. I've got opera - Das Rhinegold Monday night.

Work work work.

Do less and make more?

Still shopping for a cell phone replacement, too.

Just the punch line?
"But a real friend will be in jail with you, saying, 'Damn, that was fun!'"

Off to work
It's that simple.

Another fish story:
I'm believing this one. Uh-huh.

Fevered, fervid brain at work:
ring05 I doubt this will make a final cut, but a mash-up between "Die Walkurie" (intro & overture) and Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up."

Alberich the Nibelung: "Oh how do I catch such coy, elusive fish?"
(From the Das Rhinegold, Act I)

Bugs! Again!
I didn't get stung, not this time, but I've been trying to think of an environmentally friendly way to deal with the pesky vermin, the yellow-jackets' nest on my patio (space). I think I found a solution. (Thanks Scott!)

Best advertising I saw all day?
It was block, skyscraper ad on page someplace, something to do with mac rumors, I'm sure, and the ad displayed a rendering of a marijuana leaf, "Should Marijuana be legalized? Yes. No. Huh?" I almost clicked just to see the "huh?"

Worst lines?
I'm not sure which was worse, I was talking to the "one call resolution" CSR, since my phone went swimming, and I was trying to locate either an immediate replacement, or cheap alternative, or find out what the cancellation fee for the contract was.

I'm chatty, so I asked the CSR what was the weirdest call lately.

"Guy calls up and sings; he was auditioning for American Idol, and just wanted some practice."

I e-mailed Sister to let her Gemini self know that I wasn't available via the usual mobile number.

"So you want a wet-suit for the phone?"

Runs in the family, no?

"Some things never change."
"Tell me what you want to know," she said, into the phone, "I'm psychic, too."

I'm not sure I want to know. If I knew I wasn't going to be successful, would I keep trying?

And now we return the regular programming.

It's all about place. Place, a sense of place. A place where a person belongs. It's like a comfortable hat, you know? Where you feel at home? Or shoes, or, maybe, you don't like to wear shoes, and you're barefoot.

I'm about done with this whole "Mercury is backwards in Leo" crap. Been a long, tough road. Weird one, too. Not that I don't fall for more than my share of the traps, or not that I don't pay attention to what the stars say, but I'm not buying into some of the events. I can blame the planets, but I'm not sure that I should. But I will.

I've had an account with a national (international) service provider for years, always maintaining a back-up e-mail address, net access and so forth. So when they advertised cable modem with no cable bill, I looked into the offer, especially since the phone company just upped my DSL charge but not the speed. DSL is slow these days.

Don't tell me not to do something electrical when Mercury is RX. I write this stuff, I know. But the deal was good, and I signed up. The various (their) websites bounced me off a few times, so I had to resort to a landline to make the deal. It worked. "The technician will be there at 8 AM." He rolled in around 10:30. Not that it matters. He clipped one cable, plugged the box in, and I plugged the wireless router in, and it was all online.

He clocked out. I checked the connections. Wireless, up and running. Ethernet to cable box, check. Administrative tools, no "internet" connection. I fussed with wires and settings for a few minutes, and then I realized, instead of wasting time, just call tech support.

(Insert appropriate expletives.)

As I was wending and winding my way through the phone tree, I unplugged everything, plugged it back in, shut it off, turned it back on, rebooted the computer, pinged the network, and I fixed it myself. "Estimated hold time, 3 minutes."

Done deal.

Cable's faster, costs less. But I had to fix it myself, no help from the tech or the phone.

Which goes back to, "It's all about place." The sturdy pioneer attitude has all but fled portions of Texas. I'm not naming names, but there are places where political corruption and corporate malfeasance rule. However, there are still places where there's very much that "we're in this mess together," attitude. Plus, what I find refreshing, there's always the "Couldn't wait, had to do it ourselves. Ain't purty, but it works."

Imagine an ugly hole in the side of the trailer with a new cable snaking in from a terminal someplace. The hole is sealed with a dab of ugly gorilla-snot yellow silicone paste. Sealed more to keep out the bugs than the weather. But it's fixed and running. Faster, even.

There's a ton of trash, mostly organic debris, floating along the shoreline. Although the water's muddy, just at the edge of the debris, the fish were nibbling.

Cherchez le poisson:
So it's not big, but it's a bass, and I caught him, and it was a valiant fight, and he's back feeding on the storm's debris again.

Later that afternoon:
I'm thinking I really need a banner of some kind, like in the first movies, a proper type of segue. I was walking along, and the afternoon warmed up a bit. Warmed up a lot, really. Business call, a frantic client, "Can you look at my star chart, like now?" Sure. After the next appointment, I mean, I was going to fish some more, but duty calls. Or a frantic, disembodied voice on the phone, "Is 7 too late? I've got to leave, like, tomorrow."

"7 is way too early, unless it involves a fishing pole," I replied. No, it was 7 last night.

And someplace in between:
News item from another news item, and I find it all highly suspicious, especially since this is the second time in a day when I haven't been able to verify a source, for a link.

"Austin named #1 place for Latinos to live."

The list? Allegedly from Hispanic Magazine, and the ratings? #7 El Paso, #5 San Antonio, and #1 Austin. Personally? I think they got it backwards.

Unrelated to much of anything:
I'd vote for "Xena"* myself. Woe be unto those who fail to find favor with the name, the swift sword of justice will smote thee.

*I'm not, like any kind of Xena fan - nothing like that. But for a portion of my life, the hotel in El Paso had only 15 cable channels, and when I got around to watching TV, after work, Xena was on three of the channels. Or so it seemed. Chicks with swords, yee-hah!

Weird wired Wagner Wednesday
Been reading up on the upcoming trip, doing a little light reading to get ready.

"Here was not the customary procedure of a non-musical playwright putting together a libretto and then handing it over to a composer to be 'set to music,' the product of their joint labour being afterwards turned over to actors, producers, machinists, designers and all the rest of them to add their several contributions, but the operation of a complex faculty of which the world had no experience until then, the operatic creator being at once dramatist, musician, mime, producer, conductor and everything else. It was not even that Wagner, during the creation of an opera, was dramatist, and composer and stage practitioner in successive layers, as it were, the one faculty taking the up the job where others had laid it down." (Newman, Ernest. The Wagner Operas. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.)

The impact of opera as a form of popular culture has probably waxed and waned in the intervening years. A curious note, and I could only wish that I had better notes from my university study, but as I understand it, until Wagner's Parsifal, the Holy Grail was the cup that caught Christ's blood. But after that opera, the myth was changed so the grail was the cup used at the last supper. In any event, cursory research indicates the theories have holes.

Off topic:
Where Wasabi comes from? Bring on the burn.

Professional notes:
Reading Tea Leaves was a gift, probably a stocking stuffer from my own, wee Scorpio mum, feigning a Scottish accent at the time. For her son the oracle. I picked it up because I've been scrying in coffee grounds lately, just as an idle amusement, but perhaps as a valid oracle, too.

"It will be seen that to read a fortune in the tea-cup with any real approach to accuracy and a serious attempt to derive a genuine forecast from the cup the seer must not be in a hurry. He or she must not only study the general appearance of the horoscope displayed before him, and decide upon the resemblance of the groups of leaves to natural or artificial objects, each of which possesses a separate significance, but must also the balance the good and the bad, the lucky and unlucky symbols, and strike an average."
Reading Tea Leaves. NY: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 1995.

What I liked was a gentle reminder about the way the symbols, whether those symbols are cards, tea leaves, coffee grounds, or stars, how it all tied together.

Off topic:
There is definitely an EULA on this printed material. (From a slash dot article.)

Back top the professional points:
I was looking something up on the internet, I suppose that's become a common research situation, and I stumbled across another astrologer. I didn't dig through the collected works, but I found someone who seems to resonate well with what I do. Same kind of style.

Astro Barry, tell him Bubba sent ya there. I'll even share some digital images from the other afternoon, like he does.

image image
image image

At least , I hope this thing is satire.

Not satire (not irony, either):
I clicked through to a unique item - closest I'll get to social networking - a place for independent coffee shop and similar locations.

Cafespot (dot net)

I'm especially interested in what's close to the Seattle Opera House.

Cherchez les poissons:
image[/style>I saw my girlfriend, the river was still pretty clear between intermittent morning thunder storms, but she saw me with a pole in hand, and bolted to deeper water. Then the rain and run off caught up and there went the fishing. Around dusk, I tried another spot, rather muddy, but at that very moment when the water was flowing, or draining, anyway. Picked up this little fellow. Looks rather familiar, though, like, haven't I caught this one before? Same spot, same fish?

Side-Dish: subscriptions
For some reason, probably bills or the kindness of strangers, or maybe, just the present position of the planets, I was thinking about the site's subscriptions.

[/style>Works a number of ways, really. The idea, when I started it a couple of years ago, was to get a broad base of subscribers and then gradually do away with other work. Sort of worked, and as an idea, I have to say, it's been successful so far. The site is paying for itself. but it's not paying a salary, and being solely dependent on the other avenues is seriously taxing my lifestyle.

The problem is getting the point across. Free stuff doesn't get any consideration. No one seems to care that the free horoscopes are so loaded with advertising, or that most of the free horoscopes aren't even original material, merely recycled bits from previous scopes. One author confided that after seven years of scopes, all one ever really needed to do was recycle the same material. Over and over. While I've been accused of that, the nuance and the meat of the message has actually varied. Not unlike other writers, I do have crutch phrases, but in the editing process, I've gradually learned to unlearn the bad habits. Some of them anyway. It's all about process.

Four years ago, I was talking with a regular "Fishing Guide to the Stars" reader, Leo, if I recall, and she was interested in that she knew a fair amount of astrology herself, and how that came into play with what I did. Unlike some columns. The point I was working towards, at that time, was trying to keep the site open and free. Seemed like the thing to do. Later, I was motivated to put my money where my mouth was, and I switched to a "pay per view" type of arrangement. Which I like even more.

I was thinking about that conversation in a coffee shop, in Seattle, because I'll be back that way. Don't know if I'll have that conversation all over, or if I will be forced to eat my words. But the face of the web and the nature of my business, plus a healthy dose of understanding human nature, has changed my outlook.

First off, there's the simple fact that most people don't put any value in free advice. Surf the advice columns and find someone who writes something that is palatable. Dig deep enough, and someone will support a personal opinion, I'm sure.

The free material, especially in my line of work, is essentially crap. The other side, the sites that do charge? The ones I've looked run $20 or more - per month. I'm charging a measly $2.95. That's different, lower price, but attaching a price tag, nonetheless.

Another comparison has much better market penetration than I do. Oddly enough, originally from Lubbock. Cancer sun sign. With a weekly message that costs $1.99 per minute and averages 3 minutes per week. Six bucks a week, or roughly $24.95 a month. Your mileage may vary.

So the price point, and what I did when I set up the subscriptions to begin with, is a direct challenge. The mechanics of the subscription service are idiot-proof. Which means I usually have to assign passwords myself, since my readership tends to be a little more literate. I'll admit, some interface designed for an idiot will confound the clever people. That's one I understand too well.

A while back, Network Solutions offered a deal on a ten-year package for my domain name, and I took the bait. Like the fish on Tuesday morning (it always comes back to the fish doesn't it?) So the name will stay. I'm just wondering if I'll be eating these words in about four more years.

Worried? Don't be. Most of the skeleton is already in the closet, ready to go. Just needs some flesh.

Two-Meat Tuesday
image[/style>Outlandish product placement? Fish. always got to have some fish, too.

Cherchez le poisson:
image[/style>Over by Barton Creek, just off the hike and bike trail, there's a little spot I know. Family friend from years gone by called me up, Mercury is retrograde, and her son wanted to fish. I showed them my super-secret spot, and we fished most of the morning, which included good coffee and several boxes of worms. I gave the kid, he's a ten-year old Aries, a couple of jigs. No loss for me, and he was using some saltwater gear, so I was just trying to help. Trees, rocks, turtles, everything but fish. Oh, to be sure, his mom caught the first sunfish of the day. Biggest one, too. I lost hooks, lines, sinkers, and I finally just resorted to a hook, a worm, and a tiny weight, 1/32 of an ounce, I guess. Couple of tiny sunfish, and then that one.

The bad part? On the trail back to the trailer? Me and the kid, well, he started it - that's my excuse. He let loose with belch that rattled nearby windows. So we had a bit of belching contest. So check out the picture, Das Rheingold T-shirt. stupid grin, but at least I caught a bass.

I'm not sure what was the best part, watching while the kid was singing to himself as he was fishing or the belching contest. For a diminutive form, he sure could get some good volume.

His mother rolled her eyes at me, "Don't. Encourage. Him."

Name sake's:
Two-meat platters are best when accompanied by either interesting questions or a Houston Chronicle. I was queried, as I made my way towards the door, about dream interpretations. Not my strong suit, for sure, but I could answer a few questions about symbolism. It's in my nature.

But it was this story that garnered my attention, first. Politics, Texas-style, religion and health, plus a healthy dose of cash.

The way I read it, the good doctors were opposed to renaming their place of employment after an ambulance-chasing lawyer who made most of his money by suing those self-same doctors. Could just be the way I read the article, too, but I found the situation inherently funny, albeit in my own, twisted way - very amusing. Personally, I'd side with the doctors on this item - but I'll suggest that there's probably more to the story. So far, the administration, the doctors, the foundation, and where's the truth?

Which is why I'll occasionally buy a Houston Chronicle. Best paper in Texas (for humor).

On any Monday
I was trimming the ivy, I think it's jasmine, and something stung me. A Yellowjacket. Nasty sting. I said many bad word. But alas, I was out of bug spray. Plus, from what I recall, just a pinch of baking soda was all I needed. Alas, none here, either. I did pop some antihistamine, though, just to be safe. And I'm worried this will affect my fishing.

Wedding crashers:
Another Monday night at the Alamo - cheap Monday film. Perfect companion for the evening, a raucous, rowdy red-headed Capricorn. The food was good, that's for sure, plus it was an entertaining movie, certainly worth the matinee admission price. Can't say it was worth a full price for a movie, but then, in my mind, very few movies are worth full price.

The trailers were good, so I figured that it might be an okay film. I tend to enjoy Owen Wilson's characters, as I find it personally amusing. But in The Wedding Crashers, I just felt like Vince Vaughn stole the show. Or Christopher Walken. Always like seeing him - he scares me.

The best part? Food at the Alamo is generally pretty good.

Cherchez le poisson:
All right, so it's a very tiny large mouth bass (black bass). But, in my defense, it was on a topwater Zara Spook (frog color). Tiny topwater, tiny fish. Caught a half-dozen perch, but that's not worth the effort, as I was chasing these guys.

Quick Stuff
On The Road as a film?

Another big week here at Fishing Guide to the Stars world Headquarters (and worm farm). mr. mercury is backwards, and I've got to remember, for next year, to watch out for Tax-Free Shopping - not a good weekend to work.

Home - not home
There's a curious effect, noted before, that "it's just not like they do it at home."

If I wanted it the way they did it home, I'd be at home. Business travel, such as it is, for an itinerant astrologer, footloose in the city of missions, no, it's not like they do it back home. It's different.

Certain items are the same. I've not had a lot of luck locating a local coffee shop with free WiFi. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places. Folks, in general, seem friendly enough. And 90 miles, it's not like it's a long distance, either.

Almost a holiday.

One of the local readers introduced me to a new tarot deck.

Durned ole planets
Always interrupting things. Mercury, back-asswards. Wireless net dropped me.

San Antonio - again
The four food groups? Tacos, BBQ, beer & tequila. A health drink is a margarita without the salt.

[/style>I picked u that tidbit when I was searching for KSAL: Keep San Antonio Lame. It's a comic bit, to me, a vague "Keep Austin Weird" allusion, I'm sure. I've seen the sticker, in Austin, and I did a quick search for KSAL source. I rather like it.

Shorts and floral print shirts are normal. My casual attitude works.

Breakfast at "Taco-Taco." Excellent flavor, good coffee, off Hildrebrand. Or Broadway. Or Nacadoches. One of those. I'm not sure, I'm not much good at navigating in SA. If I can find the shop, then I'm doing good.

I was having problems locating free WiFi, but I'm sure I'll work that out in a few days.

It's weird, to me, after the air base in Austin closed, to see military jets overhead - all the time.

Fish on!
Just a couple of pictures of fish from Austin's Town Lake. And the downtown post office.

Cherchez les poissons:
Dark of the moon, good time to fish. Guess it was a good time to fish, Wednesday morning. To be honest, it's always a good time to fish, just some times are more enoyable than others.

I was unsuccessful at one spot, one fish, like, she knows me, and she sniffs at anything I toss her way, so I moved. I was at the creek's mouth, just at the edge of the flats, and the water was up, crustal clear, too. I watched as a gang of bass (bass don't school, don't have pods, they are punk fish who move in gangs), I counted three then five, all moved across the shoals. The biggest one was the slowest, and I tossed a bait right at her, landed right behind her.

She turned around, sniffed, I wiggled it once, and it was fish on!

Her tail left a trail in the shallow sands and mud. She tried, one last time, to dive under the dock, but her tricky move didn't work.

She was too heavy for the rod, and I eventually just had to pull her up by the fishing line, I'm guessing a good 21 inches and a full five pounds. Huge mouth. I got her picture (with my toe in it) then gently released her back into the water.

Must've scared off the rest of the gang, as they scattered under her thrashing. but not two minutes later, there was that little guy from the day before. Same fish. Flipped off the deck before I got a picture, the first time. Feisty fellow. But I got his picture this time.

image image

Shirtless in Austin:
After fishing, and catching another trophy-sized bad girl, I knew I had a little business downtown. So off I wandered. I had a floral print shirt draped over my shoulder, I had it own, briefly, when I ducked into a favored coffee shop for a Leo-mix double (espresso) on the rocks. Ambled outside and in the mid-day heat? Off comes the shirt.

I stopped, briefly, going into the post office because a woman of advanced age was exiting and I politely held the door for her. Another female slid by, and her sotto voce comment?

"I'd get in trouble if I dressed like that."

It's searing heat, in the upper nineties, with bearable - to me - humidity. Anything more than a loincloth is too much. But dressed like me? Three, maybe five miles of trail? And sidewalk? All good.

I figure a lot of people would be much happier if they dressed to suit their environments. I still don't get why so many people downtown dress as if it was winter. In the middle of August.

So far removed?
I'm pretty much removed from the illicit drug scene these days. Been to Amsterdam, but all I did was drink coffee. Although, I must suggest, I approve of the laws and lifestyles there. Stoners are much easier to get along with - especially when compared to drunk tourists. So neither is my scene. At all. My life is weird enough without any chemical enhancements.*
*Other than coffee, but that's more like an elixir than a chemical.

What caught my attention, more than once, was first a Houston Chronicle article about illegal amphetamines, then a Newsweek
What I've found, if I'm exposed to the stuff, a quick and thorough shower, or a swim in the cold water of Barton Spring, and little dose of some kind of antihistamine goes a long towards prevention. last time I bought the stuff, my usual brand (knock-off Actifed) wasn't available. Plus thee was a little sign suggesting a two-package limit on any OTC with that psuedo-ephedrine in it. Means it's now harder, if not impossible, for me to buy it in bulk.

My problem is the stuff works like a charm on my poison ivy. For me, it's a precautionary measure, as much as anything.

But for Fishing? In a Poison Ivy patch?

On the job training?
Got a late call for a reading the other evening, and seeing as how I'm out of the "office" for the next few days, down in
San Antonio, I figured I'd better just handle it right away. Which I did. But as I printed up the chart and then printed up a second support chart, I got to thinking about work, and the kind of training I've received.

None. As in, no course work to prepare to be a consultant.

I took a couple of astrology classes, once upon a time, but as it turned out, except in the instance where I learned how to do the math to do a chart by hand, I knew as much, if not more, than the instructors.

Part of that is training from learning to read and write critically, a heavy dose of the academic side of life. Not that it's worth anything, outside the hallowed halls, but that's where it started. Since there's no curriculum, there's not much of a chance for any kind of continuing education.

If I had to do it all over again, I might look into some counseling classes, how to deal with difficult clients. Marketing and business management would be a good idea, too. But I don't have it to do all over again, so there's the problem. I have to make it up as I go.

Wished I had more common sense, too. But being blessed with a hyperactive imagination means that common sense doesn't work too often. Not that it matters to me. So I was sitting and thinking about all this, and how I would love to have some continuing education in my business. But there is no model, no rules, and if there were rules and model to follow? I probably would just have to do something else.

Two articles from old New York Times Review of Books prompted this thinking. One was a by Neal Pollack, and the other, I don 't recall, but the big print was about how, these days, an author needs to have a good stage presence.

Yeah, and marketing skills. Plus a good bedside manner.

One of the older clients in San Antonio was gently chiding me for my attire. But as I thought about it, back to that pesky neighbor and her comment about the weird guy who doesn't wear a shirt. Ever. The more I thought about it, the more I was reminded of a quote, I think from Oscare Wilde, "I am writer so that I don't have to meet my clients."*

Another local reader wrote a book about how to be a professional psychic. From what I've heard, the idea is that you print up some business cards, and rent an office someplace. Wear a suit to work, and charge $200 per hour. My information is strictly second-hand, anecdotal evidence; however, the idea seems to be lacking.

The Neal Pollack article started out with the dangers of creating a fictional character with one's own name, citing Kinky Friedman as the lone example of success.

It gets more amusing to me, as I flipped back through the other NYTBR - one of the pull out quotes was something like, "Did she have a nose job?" As I've got two books on Amazon, and one of them has a picture of me, holding large bass, and both me and the bass are virtually clothing free. I'm naked from the waist up, and the bass is all naked. Pretty much a natural state, although, lately, I haven't been catching fish that large.

I'm not too concerned with my appearance. When a client meets me for a short reading, I'm in my casual best. I also charge a "casual best" price. Relaxed. The way I like to live, and therefore, the way I conduct myself.

I was considering these facts, and the meat of those articles, while I was fishing. Do I really want to spend a portion of my life, idly chasing fish in the river here?

Sure. Beats working.

*"Being a writer and a Texan is an amusing fate, one that gets funnier as one's sense of humor darkens. In times like these it verges on the macabre."
Laryy McMurtry
In a Narrow Grave
Albuquerque: UNM Press. 1968.

"If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate. The Ode to a Grecian Urn is worth any number of little old ladies."
Wiliam Faulkner in an interview—1955 (?)

"The South has produced so many good writers because we lost the War."
Walker Percy

"A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it."
Samuel Johnson

"Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard."
Daphne Du Maurier

Two meat Tuesday
image[/style> There's the whole "meat is murder" versus "the good lord must love us because He created pork ribs" debate. One I'm not prepared to get into. With anyone. Then there's an appreciation for a little slice of the countryside, an area that I really enjoy, and that's mentioned.

I picked up an early morning post via Scott's TFG about the resurgence of the cattle business. Texas cattle business. Which reminded me of a recent conversation with Sister, "Yeah, I'm vegetarian again."

Yes, she'll be vegetarian until the aforementioned pork ribs show up on my plate, then she'll have to have some of that special "textured vegetable protein" for herself. What makes the ribs so appealing, though, and I'm sure of this, is the fact that the ribs are on my plate.

Lost in Space:
I do believe I mentioned this at one point, the new "planet" that's been identified. First glance? I'm guessing Aries, and from what I'm hearing from Aries? Be a good guess, as good as any. but might be Taurus, too, as I haven't looked into this much. Yet.

The "planet versus asteroid" debate isn't too tricky for me. Las Cruces and my alma mater, Roswell (NM), played home to the guy who "discovered" Pluto. Therefore, Pluto is a planet. And if that line of reasoning is followed, then this new one is probably a planet, too, by whatever definition.

Flip the equation around, and pay attention to the other side of the question, and I can personally attest to the strength of Pluto's influence. I would point out that my reasoning won't stand up under the harsh light of the scientists. Not that it ever bothered me, being the marginalized person like I am.

Nothing to do with anything:*
Nice clip on Kinky for Guv.

*pronounced, "nuthin' ta dew with anythin'." For the record.

More nothing:
Hybrid cars equate to? I'm liking that.

Even more nothing:
It was a balmy 90-something degrees, a few clouds, and I was walking along, sans shirt. I wandered by to see my favorite barista, grabbed a cold shot of espresso (double - on the rocks), and I hooked it over towards the post office. Downtown post office. I'm still stuck on my neighbors commenting on "that weird guy who never wears a shirt." Me. I had a shirt in hand, I just didn't have it on. It's 90 or more outside. As I was heading through the long corridor of the post office, enjoying both shade and AC, even if it was just for a moment, I noticed a guy in a suit, nice suit, summer-weight wool,* nicely tailored, shirt, tie. And a single drop of sweat rolled off his nose and it fell towards whatever he was reading.

*"Summer weight wool," isn't that like, an oxy-moron? Or better yet, isn't it an ironic term?

Fish on:
Three fish in the morning, two that didn't warrant pictures, and one that flipped himself off the dock before the camera was ready. Feisty black bass, that one. He was fun. He saw me, and moved up stream. I tossed the jig past him and drug it back to his position. Black and blue craw-dad looking thing. With added rattle. He couldn't resist.

And possibly unlettered, but I suppose that's a horse of a different cantor.

New planet?
Well, as a professional, I can always use this as a new excuse.

Go and jump off a bridge?
Right off the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge, and almost daily spot for me, right?

All right, the funny part? Early that very day three young urban youths invited me to jump off a different bridge with them. I declined. "But the water's, like 12 feet deep!"

The water's, like, 5 feet deep. Dude. Two cops on bicycles admonished the youths that it was illegal.

At least, I'm an expert, do as I say, not as I do.

Alley Cats:
Nice pcitures with text.

I started, years ago, a database of quotes that meant something to me. They show up these days in my horoscopes, here, conversation, and as tag line at the end of e-mail. The old database file is called "quotidian,"" and its roots go back to something that mentioned in passing by a lit prof. I took the idea and ran with it, as would fit my own, peculiar idiom. In part, some of the various disclaimers that appear at the top of the main pages, those are drawn from a similar source. Now, here's a concise version on what a commonplace book is all about. Roots. perhaps, to what we do on the web.

"Each small event in life has a meaning, he thought, each event connects us to the web of life. Strands of the past return to haunt us; the past is never dead."
From Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya. NY: Warner Books, 1992.

File under "Did I mention it was silly season" (with Mercury backwards)?
Questions to ponder.

Cherchez le poisson:
Not what I was targeting, but at least, it is a fish. Looks better in the water.

The title is open again
Best burger in Texas? Pretty tall order to fill. Plus, there's always my slightly offbeat tastes, some aspects that combines history, time-honored traditions, ambience and nuance, as well as decent meal.

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>For years and years, in my mind, from its humble beginnings as a tiny burger dive, Snuffer's on Lower Greenville was the champion. Been a few years since I've been there, and on the way out of the Dallas, I figured a quick stop on a sultry Sunday summer afternoon was as fitting as any to test the theory.

Sadly, the title must be passed on to another burger joint, someplace else. to be sure, it's still a good burger, but I'm sure that they've made some changes, driven, no doubt, by current market conditions. But what I recall was a slightly different burger. Still good, and arguably one of the best in the world, but not the best. Like BBQ, I'm sure it can be argued a number of ways, but for my tastes, back in the day, the burger was dressed with a salad mixture of lettuce, onion and tomato, then cheese and the burger itself was a half-pound of almost raw meat.

Not quite the same. Not quite as good as it once was. Not as much onion, market driven decision, I'm sure, slice of tomato, mustard was right, and the cheese thing changed to "aged cheddar" instead of "american," as the standard.

Been years since I was last there. One evening, while cruising around, I noticed that there was a valet service on the busy nights. Sort of ruins the concept of sloppy burger dive; however, in its defense, the prices are reasonable, and the title for the best chili-cheese fries can still be claimed.

The chili-cheese fries were regular fries, tossed into a lined platter, then smothered in cheese, baked, or re-heated to melt the cheese (product), then liberally spiced with bacon bits (real bacon), chives, and jalapeño. Delightful. Artery clogging, I'm sure, and served with a side of ranch dressing. THey've also added chili, but I asked for that on the side and never touched it. Why ruin a memory?

So the fries still rock right along. In my mind, it's a toss up between a local Austin place's chili cheese fries and Snuffer's. But I'd give the nod to Snuffers.

However, the burgers are no longer Number One. Close. Damn good. But not quite what they used to be. Therein is the danger, though, comparing what they serve these days to what I remember from the years gone by.

The menu used to fit on a single side of a 5 X 8 card, and alas, it's grown, too. That's probably the problem, trying to please too many people. I don't live there, and I don't eat there often enough for my opinion to matter.

Plus, it's a slippery slope, calling up vague memories of living on one cheeseburger, every two days, as a way to get by.

That tricky memory was sharply punctuated by last shot of espresso for the road.

"Gachet? What's the name from?"

"It was Von Gogh's psychologist," the Scorpio sister explained.

Three summer's past, the best espresso was done by that Taurus lad at the Hideout. Often and on, Jo's and Little City have held top honors, in my mind. All of those have been eclipsed by Gachet. On Lower Greenville. Across from where Tango used to be, asa point of reference, or about two blocks south of the old Hot Club. Just order an espresso, a double. Takes them at least 23 seconds to "pull" it. Each of the three sisters packs the grounds in a slightly different way, and if I had to make a recommendation, the Virgo seemed to do it best.

The yellow roses are courtesy of Kathleen's Art Cafe, the original location, on Lover's Lane. Just a nod for Ma Wetzel since, as per her Scorpio oracle, the yellow rose bush was blooming.

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Transcendental bait (sushi)
Been a long, long time for me. Not that long since I've had raw tuna, but a long time since I've had "the devil roll" at that little place in Dallas.

Many years ago, it was place I went with my sister and friends, and we were all, like, high-rolling, Dallas-style. Carefully cut casual clothing that was less than casual. That "affluent but not" look. And that place was, at the time, the only place to get good sushi in Dallas.

Couple of years ago, a Virgo re-introduced me to the place. A little more casual, as befits my Austin roots, and then, I came face-to-face, or face-to-fin-to-chopstick with "the devil roll." Or, as their menu says, "ultra spicy hot."

"Kramer, I've never seen you cry before," my date for the evening said.

The guy rolling the rice? He tricked me. It's a good place for sushi, around the corner from the Apple store, and yellow-tail was acceptable, but the devil roll was outstanding. Still might be outstanding.

Tricky bastard.

The first slice of devil roll was good, but not so hot that I cried. Second slice, same deal. Then I started at the other end because I'd examined the way the sushi roll was constructed. It's supposed to be eaten in one order, left to right (or right to left, depends on how it's served), and the thin slices aren't as loaded with searing hot sauce. Instead of following the prescribed order, I worked backwards, after I realized the trickery. Mastery and trickery. And hot unlike any kind of Mexican-hot heat.

It's that horseradish - wasabi kind of a hot.

I have seen the light, and I was just short of downing a full glass of water. but tears were coming down my cheeks.

Man enough to take it, and the sushi chef appreciated that I appreciated his mastery. Tricky "cook."

It also prompted a call to Sister to remind her we'd 'been there before," and I was attempting to get her to tell the "Kramer eating sushi story."

I think this trumps it. Devil Roll. It's pure heaven.

Old ghosts?
"I ain't afraid of no ghost!"

Mecca (Dallas version): I suppose it means something when there's a table with at least six cops sitting at it, like, the food's good or something.

Then, I watched through the window while two more LEOs showed up. (LEO = Law Enforcement Officer, not someone born between July 21 and Virgo.)image"Enough cops here?" he muttered.

Another officer was joining him, and there's something ulta-not-sexy about getting out of a mini-van. But that could be my own, personal coloring.

Coffee: new place in Dallas. And surprise, the staff was friendly, and the coffee was amazingly good: tell them Bubba sent you.

Virgo and Scorpio sisters, apparently. Trendy, uber-hipster name: GACHET. But surprisingly enough, a really smooth, deep espresso that made my hair curl. More.

While I waxed eloquent, I doubt my sincerity was appreciated. But it was true. The first time I've tasted something better than Little City's brew. Or Jo's. That's smooth. Smooth & strong. Like I'd like my women?

"No, he likes his women like an iced double espresso: cold & bitter."

The ghosts? I'm not sure there here anymore. I'm not sure some of the folks are aware of their history, either. Lower Greenville, I asked the Virgo, "You know where the old Hot Club was?"

She didn't have a clue. After motoring around for a few moments, I spotted the location. Next to the head shop. Not anymore. I suppose, in part, some of this history occurred before she was born, but that's also what makes the place famous.

The Tango Frogs, on top of Carl's Corner, to Daddy-O's work, the Lone Star Cafe in NY, the fish outside the Hula Hut in Austin. Back to Lower Greenville. Maybe they should call South Congress, in Austin, Lower Congress instead.

Back at the show, back at work? The Aries from the Scientology booth kept cruising me.


Here's to hoping
[style=floatpicleft>[/style>Here's to hoping it's a good day in Dallas. Here's to hoping my neighbor won't catch and eat all my little friends in Austin. Here's to memories from the road. Here's to hoping one more tour bus doesn't stop at the same time as I do.

Three times, Friday afternoon. What are the odds?

Rudy's in Waco, Czech Stop in West, Starbucks in Hillsboro. Three stops. Three times, I pulled in, only to discover later, right after a tour bus disgorged a ton of people. Extended family reunion, a camp group of youngsters, and group of teenagers from church.

This does not happen to normal people. One tour bus? Sure. Three? No way.

All right, so I lied about the last one, the Starbucks in Hillsboro. It wasn't a tour bus. It was two van loads of kids. But still. How many "Venti Mint Mocha Chocolate Frappe" can those Baptists drink? Is that even allowed?

One last stop, for a quick picture, from a recent news item:


And besides voting for Kinky for Guv? Think about Willie as an energy Czar. I'm not saying anything, other than, well, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Nota Bene: musica
Can music change life? Alternatively, it could be looked at as Friday's Flash fun.

Submitted, from the Brothers Chemical, a little Friday Flash game.

Then, suddenly, the Z Trip popped up. Seems good enough, but a little more muddied than their previous effort. Not quite as slick. Can't recommend that one.

Mercury has a strange effect on me this round. I was up early, like at 6 AM. For no reason. Couldn't get back to sleep. Fed the cat, looked at some work, then wandered towards the river to see what it looked like. The lake itself was choked with debris from the previous evening's rain storm.

Too muddy to fish. although, in my defense, I had a fishing pole in hand, the water was rippling with something feeding on the debris.

I was proof-reading some of the upcoming material, and I forgot why I enjoy what I do. Bummer, dude. Then an unsolicited e-mail cycled through. Hit me all wrong. Asked for help. The questions are answered, on the web site itself, plus, there's a book, by me, now available from Amazon. Then, after a quick check, the question was about last week's scope. Dated material. Fishing for free information.

I'm sure there are other sites that will offer up this as free information. Usually, though, as a teaser. Or to sell ad space.

What worried me was too succinct of a reply. It's simple, though, if the data is available, and actually, it is available on the site, it just requires some digging. But it required digging to get to my e-mail address, too. Shook me up. I can only hope that I was nice enough. Thursday's special: [style=floatpicleft>image[/style>I'd wandered downtown, and I had the most amusing exchange of pleasantries with a little Libra lass. She was still apologizing for her sarcastic comment as I walked out, smirking. I thought her peculiar parry was particularly clever. I forgot to mention that good sarcasm is often wasted on the unwashed. Which I might be, but never mind that now.

On the counter at the Hideout (coffee shop), there was a picture of a big banana split, and it's lettering said, "You want me - you know you do." Got mto thinking about Amy's.

Heading across a bridge, I got honked at, and then, at Sandy's a familiar face was waving from a car. Truck-ette. So it was an impromptu dinner with some three-way action, me, a Pisces and a Capricorn.

Stopped off at Amy's on the way home. Funny how that happened. Wasn't planned, I swear. Brings life back into focus, on a balmy, late summer's eve.

Software & mercurial Mercury RX
Some items work well. Some are even cooler than I thought.

One part of the upgrade was seamless with a minimal amount of downtime. Almost zero frustration, thus far. But more features usually means something will break. Soon. Let me know what goes wrong.

I accidentally clicked on a "feature" in the apple mail program, and discovered another nice set of utilities. Or a utility that makes it easier to work with the copious amounts of inbound correspondence. So that's another upgrade with happy results.

Overheard: Two neighbors were talking, and I had the kitchen window open, for the cigar smoke, so I could overhear a little snippet of the conversation, "Yeah, that one guy, long curly hair, always has a fishing pole? He never wears a shirt. Ever. Weird guy."

In my defense? It's summertime, last time I checked. Shoes and shirt are strictly optional. In fact, they don't make a lot of sense in 90 and 100 degree heat. But that could just be my take on the situation.

Yeah, so I'm weird, too. Observed: Did you know, Amy's, at the airport? Same price as downtown. That's just weird. Same Price, not an inflated, behind the security barrier "airport" price. Which must mean I'm getting ready to head to Dallas to work. Further Observations? There's a Starbucks in the Capital Complex, 12th & Congress. One at 10th & Congress. 6th & Congress. And now?


Ceasar Chavez (1st & Congress). Do the math, 12 blocks, 4 Bucks, one every 3 blocks.

Cherchez le petite poisson: Yes, we all would like bigger sport fish, but that's what took the bait.


Right before I hooked that one? I watched as a baby bass wrestled with the bait, tried to get the whole thing in it wee-tiny "Large Mouth," but alas, the little guy just couldn't quite get it to fit. Got admire that kind of attitude, though, tackling some bait that's clearly too large to fit. I just imagine that little bass saying, "I think I can I think I can...."

Surviving Mercury with the Grateful Dead
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> The Grateful Dead were one of the rock icons from the last part of the previous century. Which is odd, because, as a standard method - measure of success is the number of hits. Not really a hit-maker kind of a group. But the more I listen, the more I find "Americana" roots. A weird blend of country, and apparently, acid-influenced meandering material. The original hippie jam band. A rolling road show that had a true campaign quality with its camp followers. Plus, I doubt this was intentional, a following that taped the shows. First of the peer-to-peer file swapping?

"Red and White/Blue Suede shoes.
I'm Uncle Sam/How do you do?
Give me five/I'm still alive.
Ain;'t no luck/I learned to duck."
(Hunter - Garcia, U.S. Blues)

I hit the "play" button while I was making morning coffee, and that song cycled up. To a certain point, it's become an anthem for me, just one line, I've been using it for years. Some of the best advice I can hand out: duck.

If only I could follow my own advice.

I tied a little spoon on the end of some leader, then a heavy cork, and launched it out into the lake. I've had some success with arrangement. The problem I encountered - I can blame Mercury in apparent retrograde position - I had about seven feet of leader on a six-foot pole. As I started to whip the cork out, I felt something penetrate the back of my thigh. The rustle of shorts, a tiny pinprick, and tangled line falling down around my knee. Plus, right there, running through the shorts and into my leg? That tiny hook.

I clipped the line, and hobbled back into the trailer for surgery. In a flash, I had out the "diagonal wire cutters," and I clipped the hook off, leaving a little bend and bard still buried.

So a piercing really doesn't hurt. That one didn't. I managed to pull the tiny barb all the way through. Swab with alcohol. Attach a new hook to the lure, and tie it all back together. With less leader.

"I'm on the edge of an empty highway/howling at the blood on the moon."
(Hunter - Garcia, Pride of Cucamonga)

Two-meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> Just random notes from a random day when Mercury is backwards, confounding everything, or so it would seem. My cure? Wind some new line on a fishing reel, give it a spin.

Geography quiz:
What state goes where?

Just one news item after another:
Arrest & deportation of suspicious people?

I was once interviewed by the FBI, while I was a part-time property manager. Some tenant had called in with a suspicious (something) about another tenant. The, I'm assuming, local FBI was following up. At my employer's behest, I quickly ran copies of everything on file of the suspicious tenant, who wasn't from an Arabic country, and was speaking Portugues, not an Arab dialect. The funniest part of the interaction, between me and the agents? I kept scanning the badge he flipped, looking for a birthday, like a driver's license. I don't remember the guy's name, but they are just like on TV.

I also picked up a Dallas Morning News, in part, at the suggestion of a neighbor, and he claimed it was the best paper between the coasts. What I learned, around some ribs and brisket? "Seek help for suicidal thoughts." "Fish is an excellent source of protein." "Calcium builds better bones."

"Sagittarius: set aside some time for a loved one. This is not an option."

That last one? That's why I brought some brisket home. Spoiled cat. Like I needed to be reminded of that one.

The DMN site requires registration, and I abhor that. Unless you want to comment here, but here that's just to prevent bulk spam. I'm starting to think that the Houston paper is far more entertaining, plus I can easily link to the stories.

Cherchez le poisson:
"Kramer, you need pictures of bigger fish." I agree, but the fish are less than willing to comply. Only get about two trophy fish here in the pond, maybe twice a year. But I do get to fish most days.

Friend of the devil
"Set out running but I'll take my time, a friend of the devil is a friend of mine. I get home before daylight, just might get some sleep tonight." (Hunter - Garcia)

"Took my twenty dollar bill and vanished in the air."

Just wandering homeward on a Monday afternoon. Listening to the shuffle music on the iPod. Weird, how that works.


I thought it was a
cute clip. (Caution: bad words, adult material, but childish behavior.)

Cherchez les petites poissons:
image image

Writing about writing:
Three "terrible rules" about writing.

Saturday's refrain
From Austin, down I-35, towards San Antonio, there's the sign, along the roadside, seen it all my life: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Jerky.

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>New Braunfels Smokehouse. "Quality smoked meats since 1945" (I knew it was older than me.)

I still prefer the slogan, "smoking the good stuff since 1973," but that could be me.

On the ay out to the lake, Saturday morning, I passed along the observation that the interstate - the freeway in Austin - as near as I can recall, had been under construction all of my life. In a similar vein, I'v seen the billboards for the New Braunfels Smokehouse - all of my life.

So stopping there on Saturday evening, while I was headed on down to Floores Country Store, just seemed like a natural. Give in to those childhood urges. The yearnings - for years - to stop someplace that advertises Breakfast Lunch Dinner Jerky. Like the four food groups.

It was okay. Not anything that great, but not bad. I'm not sure it was worth the hype, though. Perhaps that's the let-down that comes with years and years of anticipation. Or maybe it was the way my parents repeatedly denied me, only to find out it really was an overpriced tourist trap?

I had a sausage kabob with 7 different kinds of homemade sausage, like Apple, and Brat, and other wurst flavors.

The Taurus server was able to recite what each sausage was.

"One more Saturday night" (musical allusion)

"Kemosabe kiss my ass, I've bought boat, and I'm going out to sea."
(Lyle Lovett's "If I had a boat")

It was a treat to see Kevin Fowler (and band) playing on a Saturday night, against the Balcones Escarpment - Floores Country Story (in Helotes, TX).

To me, it all looks like suburban San Antonio, not that it matters much, and not that my opinion matters, either. San Antonio keeps itself small-feeling by cunningly dividing itself up into myriad of tinier town rather than one big place. Hence Helotes, which hosts Floores.

I've tried to explain this before, and it played on a conversation in the back of the boat, Saturday morning, about flags and country and sense of place.

Kevin Fowler sings about "Hell bent 100% Texan til I die," and that's about right. Then, looking out over a sea of heads, the audience, all festooned in straw cowboy hats, Daisy Dukes (and boots), all hollering and waving all manner of symbols?

Kevin Fowler appeals to a largely anglo crowd, as if that's any surprise. I was thrilled to see the crowds packed into Floores, must've been near record capacity.

The unasked question, left over from Saturday, and quite poignantly punctuated with the music?

"Them yankees talk funny, but they're all right..."

The question? What does the New York flag look like? Anyone know?*

I tend towards very little "merch-ware" as in I try to stay away from wearing advertising that I'm not paid for. Like a decal on a race car, has to be something. One of the exceptions is a Kevin Fowler shirt. A particular fave, and design, or wording, anyway, that I've swiped. What disappointed me? No one even noticed.


*Does anyone really care? "This is Radio Clash"

Useless tidbits
Friday's lunch special, the rib plate, followed by a cone at Sandy's? I was trying to wrap my head around two bits from the Houston paper.

It's about the low bid system:
Article about the low bidder went bankrupt. Makes me wionder if going for cheap over quality is the best way to do it.

It's about the low bid system:
Article about the low bidder that went bankrupt. Makes me wionder if going for cheap over quality is the best way to do it.

According to this article, this woman was convicted for some kind of assault, for cutting off her (former?) boyfriend's, well, read the article. Too graphic for me, but I'm male.

"she left a tiny little nub"

Reminded me of that joke, about the jury selection phase of a trial, it was case where a wife had found her husband in bed with another woman, and the wife shot the husband. One juror, when questioned, had replied, "When I caught my husband cheating, I just divorced him. I didn't know there were other options."

I'm equally divided on this one, say, the woman was right? She's been convicted of assault, but what punishment does that merit? Time already served? But as a guy? It's a scary precedent, isn't it? Lop that thing off and feed it to the dog?

While I'm certainly no feminist, I can't see that what she did was all that wrong. Crime of passion. While it's not a life worth living, not by my understanding, still, if the guy was violent, like she suggested, he got what he deserved.

It's still a frightening precedent.

"Dude, you went 'fishing,' not 'bassing,' right?"

Two fish are better than none. Too bad they weren't, like, really photogenic or anything.

Lit notes
Some Shakespeare, and maybe, if I remember while I've got a text handy, a little Middle English, too. Plus bass fishing in Austin's Town Lake.

Shakespeare in the original?
T&C done with the original language.

One of the beauties of Shakespeare's Globe (link on the sidebar) is that it's a living laboratory for trying to grasp the nuances of the language and stage presentation. At the outdoor Dallas Shakespeare Festival, the place is about the same size, but without the acoustics. Which just points out how cool the Shakespeare's Globe is. But much of its work is pure supposition, and what I always enjoyed? Good scholarship, but pointedly accurate in claiming it was all conjecture.

Middle English?
I'm out of my element here, but the Franklin's Tale, what I was thinking about as Tropical Depression Franklin got named, was Emily (a character in the Knight's Tale), and then Franklin, The Franklin's Tale... When I reviewed some of the material, I'm trying to recall, there was theory that the Franklin's Tale was based on the astrology/astronomy (same thing back then) and a super high tide. One of those weird academic theories that fit the situation, although, I suppose, in a court of law, it would all be circumstantial evidence. No smoking gun, as it were.

The theory, don't forget that Chaucer wrote about astrology/astronomy (same thing back then), was that there was a particularly high tide and that covered portions of the coastline, and that fits with the anecdote in the Franklin's Tale, where this one guy has to make the rocks on the shoreline disappear. Which he does, by studying the arcane "sciences," as they were referred to, at the time.

What started this detour into Middle English, the father of poetry today, was the name of the storm that cut my last fishing trip short, Emily.

I worked at wading my way through the Knight's Tale, trying to get some semblance of what happened to whom. Two cousins, chasing the same girl, Emily.

"questio quid juris" (prologue)

"I have, God woot, a large feeld to ere,
And wayke been the oxen in my plough."
(Knight's Tale, lines 886-7)

I was picking through the Prologue and came across the Latin quote. Then that couplet, which deals with the way it feels some days, "I've got a large field to plough, and the oxen are weak."

The Knight's Tale, as I recall, was probably written at a different time, possibly earlier, and then inserted into the Canterbury Tales. High style, very ornate, rather stiff, one might suggest. Courtly. Elegant.

"This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo
And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro."
(Knight's Tale, lines 2847-8)

How it ends: battle to the end, the gods get involved, Venus trumps Mars, and one cousin wins the lady. Familiar plot twist at the end, but that might be me.

And Chaucer ties back to Shakespeare with that allusion to Troilus and Cressida, the Shakespeare version. Black comedy, the way I see it. But that could be me.

And some scandalous material?
Early Stuart Libels? A different F Word?

Cherchez les poissons:
Two morning bass. Afternoon, really. I mean, I started in the morning, but finally caught the girlfriend - again. It was fun, she'd chase the perch that were chasing my worm. Eventually, I fooled her. Only took about an hour or three. Boyfriend and girlfriend.
image image

My girlfriend? The bigger one with way more attitude? I watched earlier, while she chased ca arp away, a fish that was clearly three times her size. She drove up from the depths and nipped at the carp's fin. The Nature Geographic channel, right here. Territorial little wench.

Field testing Saturday's rig
image image image

Off to fish at the lake today.

Early reporting network about Mercury Madness?

At the movies:
What's wrong with most chain movies theaters? That's an obvious point. But as a counter-point, one local place that I know of has interesting trailers, and the real movie will sometimes start at the stated time. Weird idea, I'm sure. It'll never be a commercial success.

My site, how you probably got here the first time, it's the backbone. Provides this framework for the "web log called Xenon." The site's been through a number of changes, but there are proto-blog efforts duly recorded, and the weekly audio update is well into its second year, which, by extension and analysis, makes this place look like a very-forward trend-setting site.

More on Mercury:
Family story, along the lines of oral history? I was going to save this one because it perfectly illustrated a communications problem, and it also about how facts getting mutilated over time, and how recorded history, truth and its weird cousin fiction, how all that works.

The story is about an aunt of mine. A large woman of epic proportions, and epic sense of family, and an epic family, too. The story, after several years, was all about how she rolled her car into a ditch, late at night. Specific brand of vehicle, along with specific model.

What had happened, her youngest child was commuting from points east to someplace in the south, for college. About 60 miles from home, his vehicle had started to burn oil.

"Cracked a ring, broken, I think, or just leaking really bad."

Cracked piston ring to a rolled vehicle in bar ditch? I'm failing to see the connection.

"Had to stop every 10 miles and put in a quart of oil, that's all."

Now, the truth in the story? He did pull the heads on the motor in a single weekend, got the rings fixed (i.e., new piston rings, hone the cylinders, new gaskets, reseat the parts and so on), and slapped the motor back together in less than 48 hours. Engineer, you know? So he did get it up and running again. But it wasn't roadside surgery, and no car was ever in the ditch.

Family lore is like that.

Different aunt passed over yesterday morning. I'm not sure about the details. It's not what triggered this train of thought, though. However, the notice did spook me a little.

Not at the movies:
I decided, at the last minute, to go ahead and brave a walk even though it looked like rain. I asked the mail person if it was going to rain.

"Nah, just a little thunder, won't rain, been like this all week."

As I was rounding the corner on the way to Sandy's, for the Thursday special, a really brief squall pelted me. For a moment, it felt like it was cool out. Rain stopped before I even finished my burger.

On the way home, I noticed a spot in the creek that had been cleared. In pool, hanging out by a log, there was a gang of little bass. I forgot whatever was on my mind, and the game was afoot:

Cherhcez les poissons:
Bass, the fish that loves to fight. Got three of them smaller ones, then a couple of slightly larger fellers:
image image image

Mercury and Hurricane Emily
Emily rapidly devolved into a strong "tropical storm" but still, last report I got before I tossed the poles in the back of the truck? South Padre Island was getting two to four inches of rain - per hour. I'm sure it's passed now, and I'm sure it's all over but the clean-up.

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>It was almost nice, and we almost stopped for one last cast from the pier, but then that rain picked up again. Not fun. Besides, there really was "gale force winds" on their way.

Got a speckled trout from the pier, couple of reds in front of the motel, and some other fish, about three or so, and all that was photographed on the way out of town.

Unrelated news byte:
Lance is not from this planet - no, he's from Texas (and Virgo).

Cherchez le poisson
Before the hurricane rolled in?

Coastal Fishing
Skipjack, perch, bullheads.

image image



The road goes on forever, part 44
Hurricane Emily? We ain't afeard of no hurricane!

"Southbound" (Allman Brothers), down to Corpus Christi ("I'm going down in style," REK, first live album) into the gaping maws of Emily... Called Ma Wetzel just to hear her screech.

"You're going where?"

Always wanted to ride a storm out...

Concluded with Crystal Method's "Busy Child."

The road goes on forever, part 43
San Marcos? Herbert's Taco Hut. San Antonio? "See, Kramer, here's your own room." Cool, I've now got a real "office" in San Antonio.

If the gods have made decisions about me and the things that happen to me, then they were good decisions. (It's hard to picture a god who makes bad ones.) And why would they expend their energies on causing me harm? What good would it do them - or the world, which is there primary concern?
--Marcus Aurelius Meditations, Book Six, chapter 44.

Can't help but look at the churning mass of wind and water, making a mess of a holiday date (with a fish), and wondering if they didn't have it in for me.

But I'm not paranoid.

Indulgences & Stormy names:
Mary Jo (Capricorn) came down the hall to talk to me. As far as I can tell, it's her store, more or less. We were looking at charts, shooting the breeze, and deciding when would be a good time for me to spend more time "at the office," while I was trying to remember where I'd heard the name "Emily" before.

The Storm, her name is Emily. I asked the Capricorn if she knew where the name came from? So the conversation veered off to selling houses, as I've got a number of folks who are trying to sell houses, and I kept thinking the name "Emily" had something to do with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and who is that saint you bury in the front yard (back yard) upside down (right side up) facing the new house (facing the old house), and so on? It's an old trick I've heard for years, throughout the Southwest, and I never could get it al straight.

St. Joseph, a small statue of St. Jo, buried upside down, facing the new house, this helps sell off the old house, but the rules go, after the house sells, you have dig up the statue and take him with you - make the new house happy.

St. Jo - Jesus step-daddy. That St. Jo. I was confused, but that might be a permanent condition.

So the search for a St. Jo led to the "quorum," which is my name for any one of several shopping areas, like the Quarry or the Forum, exit malls, that, to me, all start to feel the same. At one place, there's a "Catholic" store. Walk in, ask for a St. Jo. Not only do they have a St. Jo, they have the "St. Joseph Homeseller kit."

Small box, costs $4.95, comes with a 4-inch St. Jo figurine, I'd call it an action figure without movable parts, and instructions. Plus there's a another set of instructions available at the store, supplementary "St. Jo Home Seller" kit add-ons.

Now, I'm also thinking about Chaucer's tales, and trying to recall - straight up from memory, no books allowed (as if I'm going to travel with a portable Chaucer) - where Emily fit in. She's from the Knight's Tale.

But on the Friar's, or was it Pardoner? One of those characters sold indulgences, right? Just like that St. Jo "home selling kit." Same thing. 700 years later? Church still up the same old tricks?

But for selling houses? If it works? I'll wait and see what the clients all say.

The St. Joseph Real Estate kit.

Just a pair of pictures that were just "developed" (i.e, just downloaded from a camera):

Live Bait & Unreal Fish

There's a host of "ten years on the web" birthdays going on. Amazon. MP3. Fishing Guide to the Stars weekly.

In the past decade, the scopes have grown from roughly 50 to 100 words per sign - per week, to a sprawling morass of almost 3K per week. Times 52 weeks? With clarity, I can peg when this happened. It was the summer of 1998, and yet-another NDE for me.

So that's the history, in a nutshell. I've done daily, weekly, monthly and yearly scopes. but I've found I like, even enjoy, writing the weekly. So that's all I do. Besides, that's a lot of work in a year, from concept through all stages of production, right on out to the final product on the site.

The site and my related work has spawned three-four books, with a "2005" version of the columns in book form planned for next December. Amazon now carries the Romance Guide, and I'm seeing about getting other items listed with them, as well.

The terms I hear frequently is all about "search engine placement." That's the ticket to stardom, right? Big bucks, big name placement? What's different about what I do, something like 80% of the site's traffic comes from bookmarks, and less than 2% come from any one search engine or other link.

Lost my way
I was packing for this weekend, and there's an ethernet cable I usually carry for this one cheap motel, surf side. I couldn't find it, and I sorted through the travel bags, show bags, and just about every place I could think to look. No ethernet cable.

I finally found it, when I was dumping freshly laundered clothes into a backpack. At the bottom of the bag, the one bag I hadn't searched, there was the cable.

I was briefly amused by simple pleasures like finding a necessary piece of communication gear, and I was further amused by the fact that all I was doing was taking the clean clothes out of the laundry basket and dumping those clothes right back into a travel bag.

I'm packed, got my fishing gear sorted out, got my show bag ready to roll, it's going to be a long, long weekend. Work in San Antonio, at the new location, and since San Antonio is close to the ocean, in a Texas way, just head straight down to the Gulf for a few days. Now that's sweet.

Fish Tales
I was fishing and a canoe with three lads hove into sight, and then landed. British lads, from Yorkshire. I directed them to Barton Creek. One of them was curious about my fish. I asked if they would eat anything out of the Thames. I kept dangling bait in front of bass, but all I caught were perch.
image image image

I hate advertising, part uno
Just a stupid online test, while it was raining.
Bacardi 151
Congratulations! You're 139 proof, with specific scores in beer (80) , wine (66), and liquor (156).
All right. No more messing around. Your knowledge of alcohol is so high that you have drinking and getting plastered down to a science. Sure, you could get wasted drinking beer, but who needs all those trips to the bathroom? You head straight for the bar and pick up that which is most efficient.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 78% on proof
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 71% on beer index
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on wine index
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on liquor index
Link: The Alcohol Knowledge Test written by hoppersplit on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Just thinking about work?

Interesting bit about Costco versus the other big names. Pay the help better? The staff respond better. Ripple effect. Huh. Who'd a thunk it?

Work is its own reward?

Every time I set foot on the dock at Shady Acres, there are about three big bass who scatter. At least one of them, I know personally. It's a hot July afternoon, the air is full of the smell of hot summer, grease in the fryer, cedar, that baked smell of hot asphalt.

Best chore I could tackle was an e-mail program migration that I've been meaning to get around to: moving to the all-Apple mail program.

Sex and cash: redux
I tripped back over this theory again. I've got two pages set up, as it sits right now, and I'm sure this will change, but the basic html page and what seems like the most common point of entry, the full-on (week-old) dynamically rendered page.

Selling out? Hardly. not backed by any big media company, no major sponsorship, nothing like that. Just trying to work in a drive to attract more readers to paid, up-to-date scopes. I suppose I need to watch more NPR to pick up on their marketing (guilt) techniques.

I took a client call in the evening, Not really a reading, just a quick "I'm freaking out here" kind of a conversation. I looked up in the sky as I was talking, making vague assuring noises. Tuesday night, the moon's crescent pointed at Jupiter, and Wednesday night, it pointed away from Jupiter. Which means? To me, it means that Jupiter is in Libra, along with the moon, plus it indicates the relative speed of the moon, current positions in the heavens, and then a lot of technical crap.

No charts. No computer. Straight up, guided by stars. Or rather, a satellite and another planet in system. Stars.

Cherchez le poisson:
Just a perch. But he had a lot of spunk. Also had another bass, alas, no pics.

Los dos meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style>Now that's irritating. Whole site was down for a couple of hours. "Routine maintenance upgrade" or something. I called tech support when everything went in the proverbial toilet. My favorite quote, prefaced by a long sigh, "Yeah, I'm afraid I can't comment on that." My comments are not for public record either, but they weren't kind. Ever notice that "new and improved" usual isn't? Or it could be me, I might be bitter.

Oddly enough, there was no meat in the Tuesday meal plan.

Book notes
Thursday night, if I recall correctly, and I might not, Rick Riordan will be in town to sign his latest San Antonio thriller (best guess for taxonomy? Murder-mystery).

I've got clients, can't make it. Too bad. I like the way the guy writes. From Big Red Tequila:
Here the light was honest-everything it touched was sharply focused, outlined in heat. The sun kept its eye on the city until its very last moment, looking at you as if to say: "Tomorrow I'm going to kick your ass." (page 11)

The rest of the story?
Some days, favors get called in. "Can you drive me? I'm still loopy from the pain meds..."

Sure. Hike up the hill, drive around in her car, and listened to another stoned friend.

"The red ones are happy pills, the blue for swelling and I don't know what the white ones do..."

The upside, I managed to work in a dip in the creek, six miles of trail, and one sign. One, to me, funny sign.


The scent of the cedars, on hot summer's day, it reminded me of some point in time, like, as a Boy Scout? Summer Camp, in the middle of the Texas summer when it's too hot to breath?

Cherchez le poisson:
Start the day out with a tiny black bass. Title this one: six inches of pure attitude. Okay, he was really closer to eight inches, but never mind that now.


Tres Leches
The sign said, "Tres Leches is not a food group."

I'd argue that.

Cherchez les poissons:
As promised in Monday morning's audio update, two perch and a bass.
image image image

There was another decent little bass, on Sidewinder, one of my favorite earrings. I was getting ready for the Gulf next week, and I managed a decent bass on a test rig. Too bad I accidently erased the image.

"Bummer, dude."

Yeah verrily.

Reflections in a window pane.
"Injustice is a kind of blasphemy. Nature designed rational beings for each other's sake to help - not harm - one another, as they deserve. To transgress its will, then, is the blaspheme against the oldest of gods."
(Marcus Aurelius Book 9, first chapter)
"Blue light rain - unbroken chain - looking for familiar faces in an empty window pane."
(Hunter - Lesh - Garcia, 1974, Mars Hotel)
They're telling me that forgiveness is the key to every door."

Couple of images:
image image image
Wake Up call | Bass Pro Live Bait vending machine | Mercury Hurricane

(yellow line)

Richard the Third (bottom of the page for R3)

It's good to see Pa Wetzel, then again he dozed through part of the third act, just as Richard is becoming king. and I ducked out to buy popcicles.

It's nice to see a professional production, out under the stars, and the outdoor setting? It's about the size of the real Globe, so it's a perfect setting.

"It all seemed to work just right, didn't it?"

Everyone played their parts well. Richard the Third, Richard of Gloucester? He was just a mean, mean man.

How did that stupid country song go? If you can be good? Be good at it? Yeah, that's Richard the Third.

That was some hard work. Now, available through Amazon: Fishing Guide to the Stars. Concise reference as to who gets along with what. Special section on bait, too.

(Not sure the link works in some browsers but chokes otherwise, and in fact, I haven't shipped anything to Amazon yet. Computers never make mistakes. Right, I believe that.

Travelin' Man:
Got a quick over night to Dallas, up to see Richard the Third. In the park, If the weather cooperates. Which it should. Maybe.

Poignant tale about a despot, n'est pas?

Very unrelated:
Google Map pedometer.

Cherhcez le poisson:

Reflections in the creek's water
I got the news about London and the subsequent media blitz, just as I was walking out the door. So part of my time, Thursday morning, I kept clicking back through to see if anything had changed. No real news, just recycled bits.

From a coffee shop in Austin, over the bridges and headed towards home, I stopped at Barton Creek for a quick swim. I sat at the water's edge, pondering what to say, think, and feel about the recent turn of events, and a - leap of faith here - Mexican family swam into view. Almost literally. The tree branch I was sitting, where I dove into the water, and where I hauled myself out, was right by a willow that has seen more upright days.

The first of the family to notice this was a young male, age, I'm guessing, between 8 and 10 years old. Could be more or less, depending on a number of factors, but the clues were the fact that he was not wearing a floatation device, like the rest of his younger siblings, and he seemed like the trailblazer.

The downed log provided a good runway for jumping, diving and falling into the creek. Summertime play, along the banks of the fast-flowing stream. There was an adult, indeterminate age, with them, obviously a hispanic female, and the pack of kids, four or five, all kept calling her "Abuela." Most of the chatter was rapid fire spanish with a definite Mexican accent to it, and I could pick out words and phrases, but I couldn't quite string together a coherent conversation. Might not have been one.

"Abuela" drifted downstream, and paddled up to the Willow's trunk, long enough to rest, and presumably, supervise.

Caught in between the quick spanish, though, little phrases seeped in, like the creek water in my shorts' pockets, items like "Okay," and "Hey!"

After I dried out a bit, I clipped the phone back on, stuffed the mail in a pocket, and I was slogging back up the trail, still wondering what to think, how to feel.

It's about freedom.

Mean Streak
My mean streak is starting to surface. Can't control it. The dark side is taking over. Skip this if dark comedy offends.

I've spent, over the last few years, enough time with British lit, and enough time in smelly, smoky pubs, with the aforementioned characters from brit lit, to have a few of those characters residing in my brain.

It's not a permanent residence, they just pop on around for visit now and then.

Brit Press:
Guardian's story on the attack.

Which affects the price of oil.

Then the same group, supposedly, claimed to kill the Egyptian envoy.

Unrelated stories:
All about how the rural US is gripped by a meth epidemic.

Archeology. Including some British Romans.

So the brit lit characters showed up the Thursday afternoon, one of them is actually Irish, and the pair were sitting, side by side, in a pub, mulling over the recent news.

'Un-fooking-believable,' one said, looking at the telly over the bar.

'Means, we've got to do something,' the other replied.

'Mmm, another pint? I'm working on plan here,' the first said.

'Bloody mess, that's for sure. It's a lot like trying to argue with me ex-wife, you know, when she'd been drinking. No way to win, not that one.'

He tapped the side of his nose in a knowing manner.

London burning
I've got memories, even some fairly recent, plus idle time spent in the Museum of London, among other places. When I woke with a start Thursday morning, aware that something was amiss in the world, I didn't know what it was.

London Bridge has fallen down?
I've got two mental images, and I'll put down what comes to mind. Metal detector (and the 'no trash can' rule in the national gallery) and the single photograph in St. Paul's historical archives, like in the basement.

It was a trip, in the fall of 2001, and in the National Gallery, off Trafalger Square, pretty near the heart of London, a friend and I were walking around, being bloody American tourists with little empty Starbucks cups in hand. I asked where the nearest trash receptacle was.

'Outside,' the docent replied. If I could raise an eyebrow, I would've. My subtle query as to why was answered with vague mumblings about the IRA, like it was in the bad old days.

Years before, with my father, we'd toured a little-visited museum. Had to pass through a metal detector, and our packages were scanned for bombs. Just part and parcel of living in a city that lives with this kind of a threat.

The other image that came to mind was from St. Paul's historical section, fittingly located in the old catacombs. Or whatever they call their basement under an important church. It was a single aerial shot of St. Paul's cathedral, at the tail end of World War II. Battle of Britain, wave the Union Jack, indomitable British spirit, and so forth.

That image showed St. Paul's, intact, untouched. The area around it? Rubble. A complete circle, around the church, reduced by German bombers to nothing but fractured stone. There are two theories, one, the obvious one, divine intervention. The other, unsupported by text as far as I know, was that Hitler ordered St. Paul's spared for his own nefarious purposes.

It's all bad.
London news:
Just got the Olympic games for 2012? And then the shit hits the fan. Remember the rule? Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

Thursday's weirdness
Books, and fishes, and so forth. Just a hot summer day in Austin?

Books and places:
Years ago, I had a chance to meet the San Antonio author, Rick Riordan (Gemini - married to a Gemini). One of his books, his first published novel, I think, is called Big Red Tequila and the name derives from the protagonist's memories of a high-school era San Antonio drink, Big Red and tequila - I don't even drink tequila (or Big Red), and the combination makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

I quizzed the author during that meeting, a catered book signing, and he admitted that he didn't ever really drink the concoction. Turns out, the author, at the time, was a mild-mannered 7th grade teacher by day, and he writes these tasty little mysteries at night.

There are two hooks that got me. One, should be obvious, the main character is (was) an unlicensed PI with a lot of literature degrees. Medieval lit, I think, was the fictional field of study. Then there was a cat, and best of all, one of the real characters is San Antonio.

Latest book? South Town and the title refers to an area just south of downtown San Antonio. I started reading the book late one night, and after about three pages, I had to put it down as the opening sequences are of a bloody and violent jailbreak, inside the mind of character who is a sociopath.

But I picked it up again, and I read most of the book in a single sitting. What hooked me again was that sense of place. Since I've been working and visiting San Antonio a great deal, the details are absolutely correct. Perfect. Sort of wry descriptions, too, but hitting on one detail after another - in way that evokes my own memories, or, better yet, describing people that I know? Characters that I've encountered in SA?

The more I pondered this while walking over to get the mail, the more I realized what a deft sleight of hand trick the author was pulling. Hitting spots I know, I've seen, I've passed that soccer field, I know a 'vato' just like one character, getting me to care about descriptions of characters.

Plus, big plus, sense of place. Perhaps by design, or perhaps as a fragment of the author's imagination, the sense of place, San Antonio is an unwitting character in the book.

Musical Nota Bene:
"I like to kick back by the railroad tracks and wait for that lonely train, if you don't like our hillbilly sound, hey man, go fuck you." (Hank III, Hillbilly Joker)

Unrelated design issues:
Art imitates life?

The production crew:
My Piper sandals were returned, via post, along with everything else in the mail. Handwritten note, begging forgiveness for the delay (hint: it always takes this long to get them resoled, way it is). Along with that packaging, there was also a bit of promotional material.

Two thoughts occurred, one, that the business model is so beautifully simple, it just has to work. The second thought was spurred by the enclosed picture of "The Crew at Piper Sandals," Dave, his son and daughter-in-law, plus the dog and the cat.

I should do a picture of the crew here. It would be the cat, the trailer's living room, the beeper, the phones, maybe the modem and the router?

I don't know:
Where I'm going to go, when the volcano blows.

Quick statistical update:
Over 50k "hits" for July 1-7, 20k to the blog. That works out to? Never mind. I looked at the June stats, and then, when I got the "347 hits per hour" average, my mind folded. Forgot what I was looking for.

Cherchez le poisson:


Two-meat Tuesday redux
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> New Bass Pro coming soon to SA? so I'm a little behind, as this information has certainly been eclipsed, in my world, by the new Cabela's, open in Buda.

Unrelated silliness:
I'm so sure, but I had to found out if it was true.

More unrelated silliness:
Not sure of the name, but I'm sure of the outcome.

July 4th, REK:
I had a chance to catch Robert Earl Keen live at the ballpark, July 4th. As always, an amazing set. He played for about an hour, after the ball game. His latest album? I'm thinking it's one of his best, if you go for that kind of music.


Imagine using a web log as promotions?
What will they think of next? Pushing product based on a comment online?

Who'd a thunk it?

Cherchez le poisson:

Unrelated webloggies:
Finally note, includes a cardboard sign, and I understand that one.

Ice cream, part II
Perfect recipe?

6 eggs. 3 and a half cups of sugar. 2 quarts of half and half. 2 half pints of whipping cream. Vanilla extract - 3/4's of a 1/4 cup.

Beat eggs and sugar. Add half and half, add all whip cream. Add vanilla.

Crank in ice cream cooler and serve.

Fusion cuisine
The logo for Encino's speak volumes. The San Antonio Express-News claimed the place suffered from an "identity crisis," whereas, to a South Austin native like myself, it seems to to be a perfect blend of weird stuff. Asian, from the chips and "dipping sauce" served. "Kramer, would I ever take you someplace where there wasn't chips and hot sauce?"

The logo is either Japanese, Korean, Chinese, or maybe it's Italian. Or French. European via the Pacific Rim. All manner of goodness.

Famous bicycle:

reductio ad absurdum
I was going to play with the Latin phrase, and turn it into "lettuce and absurd," but I'm not sure the joke will carry forward. Obscure humor is one thing, my humor is a little out-of-touch with reality. I might be, too, but I don't think that's the question.

Perfect days:
Summertime days, when it's too hot except for the stupid crepe myrtle, are just perfect for me. I finished up writing, took a call from a client/friend, and I wound up on the phone for more than an hour, "Look, I'll pay you, just throw some (tarot) cards, okay?" means I had to step back inside the trailer and work. Another call, another denial that I got married in Las Vegas (at the Bass Pro Shop, under canopy of fishing poles, by Elvis). Then I fed my friend in the creek a few more worms. Caught a tiny fish. I'm thinking, Monday and Friday are bass days, Thursday? Sunfish and Sandy's.

I stopped someplace along my route and took a picture a of a newspaper headline, "Mad Cow traced to Waco." I can't even make this stuff up.

(click to for larger image)

Inbound mail & answer:
> Dear Mr. Wetzel;
> A couple of weeks ago (or more), you sent an e-mail inquiring what aspects of
> the website were found useful. Sorry I failed to respond in a timely manner
> but better late than never.
> Since I was not aware that an audio weekly forecast was available, your e-mail
> was quite useful as I now listen to it.
> I think you should let users send in music suggestions for the background and
> you could pick whatever best fits the particular forecast. For example, if
> there was an impending Mars/Pluto square, perhaps Death Metal would be
> appropriate. Or, how about a Venus/Jupiter trine? Your call but maybe "Money"
> by the Beatles would be a safe bet.
> In any case, I do enjoy reading, and listening to what you have to say.
> Have a safe and sane weekend.

In the year and half that I've been doing the audio recording, I've sampled one, maybe two songs, and I kept those bits so short no one recognized the lick. And when it's all over? Gone. Which is just as well, if you ask me.

Now, I really like that idea, of the subscribers picking the music. Or selecting a musical background that reflects the transits. That's cool. There's a serious little flaw, though, and it has to do with rights, copyrights, broadcast legal terms I'm not familiar with, and I once crossed swords with BMI/ASCAP, the music police, and I'm not about to do that again. I won that time, but it was a gray area.

I can make musical suggestions, and I often do, but once again, I won't be streaming anything off the site that I don't a full and legal right to use, i.e., ipso facto, and to wit, my voice (and the tracks included royalty free with the software I use).

But I so do welcome suggestions like this one.

Final thoughts:
I could try singing on the weekly audio clip. Nope, never mind, belay that point.

Apple review
Reprint of Apple's 128K Macintosh.

For the CA paranoid?
Plane circling Lodi? I not sure.

Latin for the masses?
Sure. Here's a quick access to a number of Latin quotes.

Balance is important.
In keeping perspective in place, maintaining and truly objective and absurd?

Another comic strip. Plays with some theme, lately.

Close-out specials
End of the month time, need to run a special of some kind.

I got a call the other evening for a reading. Not much I could do, sort of weird, and I really should save this for a scope. Briefly, there was a request for a phone consultation. We set the time, the phone rings, I answer, we start the preliminaries, and then I ask for credit card number.

"Uh, look, my paycheck hasn't cleared yet, can I pay you tomorrow?"

My answer, "We can do this at another time, if you would like," and I opened up the appointment book, got out an eraser, and started to see when I had another opening.

What actually transpired is that the aforementioned paycheck had arrived, and funds were available, and we proceeded as scheduled, more or less, as it took an extra 15 minutes to go online check the bank balance or something.

So I was thinking, half-hour reading, lasts 45 minutes, and I cover everything that most people cover in hour and half? I just tend to work faster. I'm also a little blunt, and I'm getting shorter on the astro-babble, and longer on the meat of the question.

Throw in a tape of the reading? I pay postage? follow it up with chart report? All for $65?

Yeah, end-of-the-month special. Get peek at what's up ahead.

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Where the rubber meets the road
I wasn't thinking about it as I traversed the trails, highways and byways, me, shuffling from a trailer park to the post office and then back home again, or, I wasn't thinking about it until I happened to see a bicycle.

No ordinary bicycle, nope, not that one. It had a front set of forks with telescopic tubes, rubber dust boots, like old-school dirt bikes, a weird mono-shock rear end, I'm guessing upwards of 24 gears, and a strong lock. Lock was probably the heaviest part of the bike, again, I'm guessing here, but I'm sure it was built out of "unobtainium," which is a special alloy of only the lightest, strongest, most tensile strength, highest-priced material around.

Cool wheels.

I was slurping the grounds out of an iced-espresso, shirt in one hand, sandals going "flip-flop" on the pavement, wondering.

Previously linked, and I can't find it now, there was story about a guy who dropped out of one world and became a bicycle messenger. For fun and profit. What I recall, and I might have this wrong - heavens won't be the first time I was incorrect - but what I recall was that he suggested a single speed bike for messenger work. and if it was an expensive frame? Cover in trashy decals to hide that fact, maybe a can of cheap spray paint - make it less of a target.

I was doing a little, kind of idle, mental compare and contrast, and which lifestyle would I prefer? I kind of like the one I've got. Simple.

Set of wheels like that one bike? Set me back two months work, minimum, I'm guessing. Me, personally? I'd be afraid to leave something that nice locked up downtown while I sauntered into a coffee shop for an afternoon libation, or worse, for an hour long reading. I'd be afraid. To be sure, there's at least one or two places I wouldn't be afraid to leave it, but then, those are places where I'm known asa regular, and in these parts, neighbors do look out for each other.

But otherwise? Not likely. I'm more along the lines of that bicycle courier's tome about a durable, not-afraid-to-crash-it, single-speed. Day in, day out, hard daily use? That's what it's about. Footnote to advertising:
Via a Capricorn's web log, a note about trust. Issues. Whatever.

Design issue
I've been toying with an idea - a pledge drive - a cure for the dog days of summer - and fittingly - astrologically so - a good way to wrap up the current planet mess. image

It's a simple idea, go back to a splash page. The default page, have it be nothing but a couple of links. One would be the free horoscopes, one would be the subscriber "current" horoscopes (less than 2% advertising), sales, site index, and the fine print. Simple. Not too many links. Should load in less than a second.

The image I snapped Tuesday afternoon, on my way for a swim in the creek. I kept toying with the image, but I couldn't figure out how to work it into a simple splash page. The key is simple.

There's a couple of sites I hit almost daily, and one of them is an online version of a newspaper comic. Although I've bookmarked the URL to go straight to the dynamic page that renders the daily version of the strip, I've encountered problems, and I've found it's easier to hit the introduction page, then click once to get to what I want. But in two other examples, I skip the splash and go straight to the content.

I tend to prefer the content being straight up on the front page. Way I like my web sites. But then, I could run this a for a little while, see if it helps with the sign up process.

Splash or not? Take the plunge?

Two-meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style>But first, a word from our sponsor? This article was almost disturbing. Except, I'm all about full disclosure. Want something plugged in this spot? Offer up some cash, we can talk. Obviously, the Amazon links work, as they call it, "an affiliate." Doesn't generate much cash, but every little bit helps. And is appreciated. Plus, there's no hiding the fact that it's a sponsored link.

I've tried dozens of advertising options, but only that Amazon seems to provide reliable results. Book beats:
Radio Activity by the always funny Libra (if I recall correctly) Bill Fitzhugh. He's a good writer, and he hooked me first with Pest Control, and it's been long series of entertaining novels since. Besides, he heralds from Jackson, Mississippi, if I recall. There's that "Southern" flavor that seems to run through all his texts. A proper sense of the absurd. As a little bonus, I like his "recently read" selections, on his website.

So far, with this one book? It's a murder mystery framed around rock radio formats. In fact, I don't care about the murder mystery - the filler is far more interesting, and what's odd, there's a carefully hidden skewering of homogenized, taped elsewhere, canned (think Clear Channel) formating. Gentle satire. Brilliant.

On the aforementioned author's website, in one of the book reviews he's written, he said that Stephen King wrote that the secret to writing is to lock yourself in room every morning and not come out until you've written 2,000 words.

What was amusing to me, and tickled my senses? The Bill Fitzhugh alleges that it's a good day if he gets out 250 words, much less 2,000. Just color me someplace in between. Commute times: There's a new super store that's making, almost literally, quite a splash. A new Cabela's, on the interstate, between Austin and San Marcos. Or, in a more general way, on the road between Austin and San Antonio. Virtually the present-day outskirts of town.

I've shopped Bass Pro a number of times, it's nice enough. I suspect that this Cabela's, from all the pre-press I've seen thus far? It's about the same. Same size, same gear.

The biggest problem I foresee? That location? It's going to add hours to my monthly commute to work in San Antonio.

The Pisces got the deal, as the oracle predicted, and the Aquarius server brought the best ribs I've had in a long while. Then Sandy's for a quick cone, and back around to Jo's for Sagittarius coffee. For just a split second, or several hours, all afternoon, life was good. Unrelated inter-web history: The life and death of Suck, as no doubt, linked elsewhere, is a big inter-web splash these days. I never did look much at the site, not after the first year or two. The web was narrow back then. Here's the official timeline for my web work:

1994, monthly Fishing Guide to the Stars scopes introduced as a way to learn cgi programming. Also appears on students' web pages.
1995, moved to it's own 'web space' at the then legendary "io.com."
July, 1995, introduced weekly scopes.
August, 1995, picked up for AOL's astronet.
August, 1998, moved server and added the vanity URL, astrofish.net.
November, 1998, added a blog.
January, 2002, moved to a Thursday format.
July, 2005, celebrate ten years of a weekly column on the inter-web thing.

Unrelated: how we work:
I started to read this essay, about email, but I stopped short. The premise is that email is like a number of voices, rather than each message is a single message. But that's the way I've treated email since I started working the web, c.f., inter-web history, above. I tend to sample email and determine what's happening for each brand of astrology signs, as the day unfolds.

Cherchez les poissons:
I mean, it's not much to write home about, but there are two healthy - if miniscule - examples of what fighting large mouth bass looks like. Plus a perch that was arguably larger than one of the bass. Not bad for twilight fishing from the dock behind my place.
image image image

Ready for some Q
Remind me of someone. But who?

Book beat (current list):
I picked up a copy, on a whim, of Lord Vishnu's Love Handles the other weekend. So far, so good. Style? Style works and yet rubs me the wrong way, too. It's hectic, high-energy writing, but the inside jokes, and the places in Dallas, the way it all works together, I'm enjoying the experience, but I'm not sure about the rest of the book. Glad I bought a copy.

The writing itself is highly energized, for lack of better word, the problem is that the story alienates me, to a certain extent, at least with the primary set-up. It's a world I once knew, but one that I no longer find fashionable, desirable, or even remotely interesting. could be me, though, as I know longer have those values. As the saying goes, "Been there, done that."

The spooky part of the story, though, the 'spooks' as it were, the pop-spirituality material, that I'm enjoying. Perhaps a little predictable, but good stuff, all the same.

Chapter titles like "Going to Hell in a Boxster," with lines like, "I have date with Destiny, or at least her in-bred cousin, Circumstance." (page 201).

I almost wished I'd come up with that one myself.

Cherchez les (petite) poissons:

image image

And finally, some nice South First Street "sidewalk" philosophy:

Final thoughts:
I couldn't agree more.

July musings
One of my buddies moved to Alabama to follow some woman there. While I lament the loss of his companionship, the real loss is apparent at this time of the year: he used to run a fireworks stand.

Summer time is usually a slow time for my business. Not that it bothers me, once I learned the cycles, I've grown to accept it, nay, even enjoy it. It's like last weekend, floating in a tube on the Comal River, looking for places to fish, then deciding, what with all the tubular traffic, there probably won't be many fish.

But fireworks, that's an idea. What I regret is not being able to hangout at the fireworks stand, out on some desolate stretch of highway, a parched corner of some farmer's frontage acres, sweating, cooling off in the camper out back, coming back out and sweating some more, dealing with the variety of people who come to purchase small explosive devices. For fun.

That firecracker business, it has two peak seasons, and this is the main one, with a secondary season right between Xmas and New Years. Have to make the most of the seasons, and this one requires long hours in a sweat shop of a shack, surrounded by - perhaps literally - tons of visual explosives.

At best, it's really just part-time deal, the problem being, it requires all of the part-time work at one time, the weeks leading up to this weekend. Have to lay in stock. Have to get the stock on the shelves. Then there's almost 24-hour days, especially as the weekend gets here, and there's not a lot of time for sleep. Then it's all over. Empty the shelves and nail the shack shut. Over until next winter.

It's the time in between, and sometimes, no one really gets that, unless that person has been in business, especially a business like that. The firecracker stand is such a good way to look at it, though, one peak, one frenzied period of activity and then not much lese bettween the the two peaks.

Due to a mild climate and an abundance of open space, fireworks are sort of hobby with some folks I know. A form of seasonal recreation, as it were. I don't know if the idea, concept, or actual action translates.

Some tidbits from the road?

Friday night:
Headed into an Amy's? I looked up, and in the western sky, just barely after sunset, twin pinpricks of light.

"I think that's Venus and Saturn," I said, "Mercury. Mercury should be there, too."

If I can just find the quote, be right back.

"Saturn and Venus this year in conjunction what says the almanac to that?" Harry (Prince Hal) in Shakespeare's King Henry IV, part 2 (Act 2, Scene 4)

Just a random bit.

Was a day long gone into frivolous summer fun, Nature's version of a water park, the "shortest river in the world," the Comal River. Tubing. Rent an inner tube for a ride in the cool, clear water. Sun burned, in a good way.

Stopped in Gruene, on the way back, for a little dinner. Which got me thinking about a new logo.

Gruene, home to the oldest dance hall in Texas, has a good tag line, "Gently resisting change since 1872." One item lead to another, and I just figure, since I was reading about Shakespeare's quest for a family crest, I could add Latin to my own.

Friday's fish?
There's more to the weekend than fishing, but it's a good start.

The Turtle and the Mustangs:
(Friday's parable in two parts, neither of which is related to the other.)

I wandered off into the afternoon, no real set destination other than aiming for the post office, just to check the mail. I've got one problematic client, several grateful ones, and not a lot of business as the holidays kick into gear. So I was thinking, as I wandered along, pondering a certain planet alignment that will be upcoming for me. It's a 'rite of passage' type of transition, or it's a slam-dunk, or it's slam. Over the years, I've seen the energy at this type of a transition point go many different ways - which is why a good consultation is usually in order. I was anticipating this, thinking about it, it's not for several years, but I was getting ready, wondering which way it would go.

Usually, this is a career focus, a focal point wherein the career, that what I set out to do, my agreement about what this lifetime is all about, not so much goals in the physical realm, but more along the lines of the greater good, adding to the food chain, as I like to put it. What's it all about?

I tend to interpret whatever symbols cross my path as omens, and having enough of a background in literature, I can spin a simple symbol into a large allegory in no time. From ancient mythology right up to current pop culture, anything is open for interpretation. So I rounded a corner on the dusty trial, under a bridge, and the question in my mind, at that moment, was, simply put, "Am I doing the right thing?"

The right thing, as I understood it, what I was questioning, was the art and artifice, the craft of hammering out the horoscopes, week after week, in their present form. Should I be marketing more heavily? If so, how and where? And if I should be advertising myself, how to pay for that advertising? Or skip it all together, and get in another line of work? Maybe the world doesn't need a Shakespeare quoting scholarly redneck fishing guide set of scopes. Perhaps the idea is too advanced, too weird, or just too something?

So I ambled around the corner and there, in the middle of the trail, was a red-ear slider. A turtle. A turtle of the lake variety. A very commonplace turtle, in the middle of the trail, making headway. Probably looking for a place to either lay eggs, or fertilize eggs. I'm not particularly adept at turtle genders' ID. But I was wondering, is this the sign I was looking for? Was that turtle, in the middle of the trail, wandering along like me, a symbol?

Like the turtle, I don't move too fast. The writing career has taken a path, and I just follow what the muse dictates. Slow, almost pedantic at times, progress doesn't happen overnight. "Overnight success" is usually the result of years of hard work. And like that symbol, the turtle, I'm continuing to move forward.

I'll take it as a sign, at least for now, to keep on keepin' on.

The other half of the tale, is about a pair of Mustangs. I'd like for them to both be 1965 Mustangs, but in fact, the nice one belongs to a neighbor, and it's a 1967 Fastback. I'm guessing, not having talked to the guy, it's got 289 in it. The other belongs to another neighbor, down the street, and it's a "for real" 1965 Mustang. The '67 is sweet. Completely rebuilt, looks like a frame-up restoration job. Must've cost a lot. Paint, interior, everything that's visible, and from the way it purrs? Even the parts that aren't visible seem to be rebuilt, refurbished and otherwise restored.

It stays under wraps most of the time, and when it's out and about, the guy usually takes up two parking spots, careful not to mar the finish or get door dings. Despite the motor's nice noise, it's not pushed or driven hard, a carefully kept classic.

The other? Daily driver. Right rear quarter panel is slightly mashed. Horrendous door dings, no doubt from the supermarket parking lot, are visible, particularly bad on the driver's side. Rubber looks good, but they're black wall, not fancy, just serviceable.

To me, a car, even a classic 1965 Mustang, is nothing more than a way to get from point A, where I'm at, to point B, my destination. For some folks, I suppose, being seen in a beautifully restored vehicle like that gorgeous '67? Maybe that is the point.

But if I were a car, which would I rather be? The daily driver, which may look a little beat up, but functions every bit as well as the fully restored classic? I'd rather be that 1965 Mustang that gets used - occasionally abused - every day. More fun. Less worries.

Cherchez les poissons:

image image image

image image

Sour grapes.
Busy trying to untangle my paper trail. Damn banks. Always looking out for what's best for me. Yeah, I'm so sure.

Got a couple of pictures leftover from the trip:



Cherchez les poisson:

image image image

Made it to Sandy's for a dinner break, the special, Thursday & Saturday. Out, under the stars, the torpid summer heat slowly settling in, the damp Austin air, soft and buoyant, not harsh and dry, eating a burger, watching life go on by.

Traveling man.
High points and low points.

One of the high points had to be Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" restaurant, in Vegas. compared with just about every other place to eat, it was cheap. Or relatively so. The "Cheese Burger in Paradise" was only, and I'm doing this from memory, $8.95. The good Margarita? I think that was $12, but I'm not sure. My favorite Margarita tester, Bubba, didn't get that much of a buzz off the drink, and in his words, "For 12 dollars? I should be seeing tracers n'shit."

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>Another high point, not exactly a personal best, but a good buzz, for me, was on a "Fort Knox" machine. In the Mirage. This is a One Penny slot machine. With about seven mechanical reels. And it was fun. I'm guessing I was up at fifty bucks at the best, and the time when I should've cashed out, but I had to play a little longer, and I did. But I was still ahead. On a penny slot machine. Still, like, forty bucks up. That's some hard work.

One day, I'll learn to take my own advice, too. I was sitting outside the restroom, in the Flamingo, and just as Bubba was calling, I hit some nickel machine for about $30. Between that and the morning at Paris, I was up. I walked over to the cheap roulette wheel, bought chips, and watched as my number came up on the first round.

Now, if only I'd cashed out? I wouldn't be worried about cab fare home.

One of the signs that I travel too much? As I was getting out of the shower? I grabbed some lotion out of my portable toiletries: cool cucumber. Left over from some other resort hotel. Don't ask, I couldn't tell from the branding. The problem with where I was at? Pomegranate. I was walking out of the hotel smelling like a fruit basket. Not that anyone in Vegas would notice.

It certainly wasn't me, and it goes against conventional wisdom, but I did see a $20 bill, at the airport, turn into $188. Same flight home, too. Damn.

Price check:
Hot dog, roadside food in Austin? $1.19 at the store, either $1.50 or $2 on Congress Ave. from the street vendor, and at the Las Vegas Airport? $3.91.

I'm too tired to do the math.

Nuances of weather?
A sprinkle, barely enough moisture to wet one's throat, much less anything else? But in Las Vegas? Weather delays after a 15-minute rain storm. Who'd a thunk it?

The Wynn
Cool. Except the games were a little pricey for my cheap tastes. As was everything else. I did get an "espresso float" there, but even that cost enough to make Las Vegas Starbucks look cheap. (Comparison, just for a point of reference, a double shot of espresso marked with a little foam, in Austin? Less than $2. In Vegas? $4?)

[style=floatpicleft>[/style>The fun never ends in Vegas, I'm sure. Weird place to be on a Tuesday night. At least the rates were cheap and the casino scene didn't feel as frenetic as it does on weekend. Not nearly as weird, at least not to me.

Had a really good roll going on one penny machine, lasted for better than hour, and I wound up, maybe, $20 or $30 ahead. After what seemed like hours and hours of play. Full moon and all that.

Got one last message from Bubba, something about "he got the shirt," as in, over lunch, he decided that the perfect souvenir from Vegas would be the shirt off one of the guys on the Strip handing out the "Girls to your room" flyers. Cards. Whatever.

Yes, I'm sure we'll all hear about that one.

Finally, the problem with being in a top floor at a big hotel? As I was heading to the room? The floor felt like it was swaying. Maybe there's something in the bottled water I was drinking.

Vegas, part whatever.

Not much to report. I was up, I was down, I'm in the hole, but not by much. Best image?

On the "Zodiac" slot machine?

"Out of order."

I'll get picture when I'm able.

Off to Margaritaville to meet Bubba for lunch, I hope.

Vegas, part II
Birthday dinner for Bubba. Next to the Bass Pro Shop.

Which turned into an arduous journey homeward, for some of us.

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>The place where the Bass Pro shop is located is way far off the beaten path for some of us, i..e., it's not on the strip. I paid for a cab ride over. I paid for a cab ride back, and after many years of talking about this, I paid for dinner, too.

Then, the cab ride? Dropped us at Paris. Fond memories of that place. I lingered in the casino for just a few moments, enough time to turn $10 into $50 (penny slots, work with me here, I'm not that adventurous - I live like a monk.)

Wander down the corridor, underground, into Balley's lose some of that back, then off down the strip towards a few other places, winning it all back, plus maybe $20 at the Flamingo. I still need to win enough at the Flamingo, one day, for a nice Hawaiian shirt.

From there, it was over to the Mirage, and that was the lucky break for the night, up and down, and always a bit even, I hit a - get this a penny machine - for major jackpot of some kind, and when I cashed in the chit? $100.

Doing this on penny slots? It's a lot of work. I knew it was time to retire for the evening when the machine started saying, and I'm not making this up, this is what I heard, the slot machine said, "More cowbell."

Not married at the Bass Pro Shop in Vegas, under a canopy of fishing poles, by Elvis.

Not married at the Bass Pro Shop in Vegas, under a canopy of fishing poles, by Elvis.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, "The first step, don't be anxious, Nature controls all" (Book 8, #5).

Or, like the Taurus flight attendant?

"You don't need to be nervous," sudden turbulence, "just scared."

Quick Update
Picked up this Neal Stephenson piece somewhere. Good bit from a favored author of mine.

5 more miles
The title refers to the "average daily loop" I traverse, these days anyway, when the weather's agreeable. "Agreeable" might be a slippery term, to me, anything under 100 really isn't very hot. Don't get confused, I was sweating just like a stuck pig.

First Part:
The phone kept ringing all morning, and I finally got around to answering it, "Kramer, you little shit, you know, on your voice mail you sound just like you're full of bull-shit. Anyway, I did do as well as you predicted, so I just thought I'd let you know, and can you do a reading for me tonight?"

Second Part:
Saw a drum circle, while I was loping on my five mile loop. Shambling, trudging, something-along. Anyway, it wasn't what I normally expect to see, no, see, a drum circle in the park is no big deal, but drum majors doing marching or marital rhythm, that's a whole different kettle of fish. Or kettle drums. The sight brought new meaning to "drum circle."

Third Part:
I've got this one client, and just about everyone on the trail has seen her, the skinny, smiling running woman. With her headphones on, she usually shouts a "hello" as we tend to go in opposite directions. She stopped, Friday afternoon, yelled out me, then popped her earphones out, and told me, "Remember what you said in the last reading? It's true!"

Fourth Part:
Heading towards the springs, I saw someone modified the sign on the bridge. Worked for me.

Fifth Part:
One final piece of signage, as I was headed to help celebrate a Gemini birthday. I've been meaning to get a picture of this, it's around the corner from the ole trailer park, it's just a weird one. With, or maybe without, the bumper sticker.

(These images are from a camera phone, old school camera-on-the-phone.)

Cherchez les poissons:
"It's always about the fishing, isn't it?" As opposed to more mundane matters? A ton of "fighting perch" and one tiny bass.

image image image

I imagine the world would be a better place if we spent more time watching fish in the lake, and less time tending to other folks' business.

The problem is the way I work. And the problem goes back more than ten years now.

First part of the problem is I discovered that I was most eloquent, freshest, as it were, first thing in the morning. Which is why, when Mercury isn't in apparent retrograde motion, I consider the time that I write horoscopes to be sacred. I rarely, if ever, book morning consultations. There are exceptions, as with anyone who is self-employed, but mornings? Time to work. (Or fish. After working. Usually.)

I woke up early Friday morning with a great idea running through my head. It was lost by the time I stumbled to the keyboard, coffee in hand, cat food in the dish.

I scanned the upcoming weeks and I thought about it, and I needed to add some material to introduction. But the way I work, I leave the introduction for last. I've typed it up in advance, what with a publication schedule, but sometimes, I can go in, and I've modified the introduction minutes before publication, on more than one occasion. It happens. Never can tell when the muse will hit.

I stumbled, inadvertently, onto another set of horoscopes by an author who is obviously - from the syndication notice - making a lot more money than I am. I looked at the introduction, I looked at the chart for the time being covered, and I realized that there was wildly inaccurate material there. Then there was a brief bit of "this means that" sort chatter, which, in the long run, was also - this part is scientific - not accurate. Close, but not quite right.

But as an introduction, I was wondering, is that what the readership wants? I'm not sure. Some people who read the scopes are well-versed in astrology concepts. Other folks barely know their own sign. Either way, I've got to shoot for the middle. Can't be too technical, but then, if it's all about deep-myth and metaphor? Where's the practical application?

I was trying to gauge from the site's stats, what way works best. I couldn't discern a noticeable pattern. Part of the trouble, though, I tend to wander all over the place, and single column that is devoured in minutes can take several hours, or even several days, to write.

It's not that easy. To be sure, I've had days when material just leaps from the fingertips, but those aren't particularly common these days. Still, a work-man-like approach serves me well.

The part I was unsure of, and I'm still unsure about, is what to do with introductions? I can mention planet placements and angles, impact and meaning, or I can, as I've done so far, include that data in the scope itself.

More introduction? less introduction? More news? Less news? What's the paying public want?

Implausible deniability?
Just questions?

Musical Notations?
From Subterranean Homesick blues, on the 'pod:
"Don't wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals"
(Bob Dylan's tune.)

Headline news-bytes?
Sometimes, I can't even make it past the headlines, but the flip side of that question, or the answer? I keep my present reading list open for the public (complete with Amazon Associate links - every little bit helps).

Looks like Yahoo! is playing with pay! per! view! Or, at least, a subscription-based service?

Cherchez les poissons?
Sunfish. At least one was fun, and one's an action shot.
image image

Still in denial?
Third time's a charm, I hope. Need to stamp out the rumors. yes, going to Vegas, no not getting married in the Bass Pro Shop, under canopy of fishing poles, by Elvis.

Plausible deniability
Just a couple of points, really.

Letters from home:
More pedantic meanderings about the Apple Inside. See, I got thinking, it was sparked by a letter from home (parental units), and what I figured was that Apple's "leak lawsuit" was a diversionary tactic to cover up the biggest scoop, the old switcher-oo.

Anyway, back at the ranch...
Cats can change owner's personalities? Certainly explains my slovenly appearance. It's the cat's fault.

Evening coffee?
Met up with some of the Austin area bloggerati, for casual conversation. A social gathering. One interesting comment was about a region "something" DVD and whether or not some hack would make it work. The artist's name? "Ua, and that's, like, Swahili for either flower or kill."

Uh-huh. Ripe for jokes.

"What, are you going to use that in a horoscope?"


The other item that really got my attention was the local artist, Taurus, I think, with his T-shirts (gratuitous plug - buy one of these fabulous t-shirts!).

What better way to support the arts - and get a really cool shirt in the process? The pictures just don't do it justice, it's that nice.

It's true, I'm going to Las Vegas. It's not true that I will be attending, performing or involved in a wedding ceremony. Especially not mine. Especially not at the Bass Pro Shop, under canopy of fishing poles, with Elvis performing the ceremony. Lies, all lies. Fiction. Untruths. Pernicious lies. Mere rumors, with no substance in reality. At all.

Me? I live like a monk.

Two-meat platter
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> Part of this is about a bounced check. Some would suggest it was a reality check that bounced, but I'm not worried about that. I live in my own world, and that's just fine - all the residents know me.

I picked a notice out of the mail, the other afternoon, from the bank. Seems as there was an NSF check. I figured it was another check from sometime in the last two weeks, one of the readings, it happens in business, and I usually photocopy the bad paper, then drop the person a note that bouncing a check to me usually means a plague of frogs, or toads will rain down, or, in the worst-case scenario, zombies will show up to suck out thy brains. Bad form to bounce a check to a fortune teller.

Only, this was an "astrofish.net" check. To me. From me. Great. Who can I blame for this one? Little mistake, a debit was listed as a credit, and it's only my fault, but I can blame the planets - don't try this at home, and don't try it without adult supervision, maybe consult an expert, some shrinkage may occur.

I sorted out my mess in a matter of minutes, all good now. No, there's no worries, nothing is going to happen. My bad. I was briefly annoyed, but I got over it pretty quickly.

Sidebar about Apple/Intel:
It should be so obvious? "iNETEL iNSIDE?

Blogging sidebar:
EFF guideline to legal stuff about blogging. (I wonder, can I sue myself? For that bad check?) What happens when I say bad things about me?

CNN Money is reporting that there's a mini-"dot boom" going on.

From the useless stats department:
(Pursuant to yesterday's notation) I was looking at the hit counter, and it's gone backwards, forwards and basically, it's not reading anything but the up-to-the-minute updates for either this week, today, yesterday, who knows what all. However, according to the server stats, real-time hardware info? The site averages about 100,000 "hits" each month (this year).

Spin control? Bad rumors department:
After paying the server (Taurus), and heading out the door, the manager (Pisces) had one last compliment for me, about an observation the other evening. Seems like some of my predictions come true. However, realizing that these are people who never read this material, I just thought I would mention, in passing, that the rumor that I'm flying to Vegas - this coming weekend - is true. But I have to deny the idle speculation that I'm about to get married, in Vegas, at the Bass Pro Shop, under canopy of fishing poles, in a service performed by an Elvis impersonator.

Completely untrue. Not one shred of truth in it. The rumors are completely falsified. Obviously the antics of an over-active and fervid imagination. Nothing to do with it being Father's Day, either.

Cherchez les poisson:
Nice, morning bass. Nothing quite as good as chasing a little bass, first thing in the morning.

(I was "stuck on a horoscope," as it was.)

image image image

There is, or was Tuesday evening, a decent size black bass circling the dock. He was chasing some of the perch I've caught, and he was, no doubt, drawn to the activity. Free food. Or easy to get to, anyway. You know, let some one else do the hard work. Smart bass. Or an old friend. He would take nothing from me. No live worms, no fake worms, no plastic things that look like nothing in nature but usually evoke a bite, I mean, nothing. In fact, at one point, I caught a tiny perch, speared it on the hook, and dropped that back in the water. The bass lunged once, the fish tried to swim away, and the bass didn't get the thing in his mouth because he saw me.

I've heard a lot of "relationship" issues as of late. Saturn's slamming the last part of Cancer these days. Pluto's in Sagittarius, and Jupiter is inching forward in Libra, a relationship sign. Uranus in Pisces. Astrology noise, blah-blah, blah.

Nature has a lesson: imitate the action of that one bass.

Don't take the bait.

It's really that simple.

Obviously, that one bass has been reading my current scopes.

Which is why I live like a monk.

Remember: the rumors are not true. No wedding in the Bass Pro Shop (under a canopy of fishing poles, presided by a duly deputized & legally binding Elvis impersonator). Not going to happen. All vile rumors.

Forging alliances
"Othello torn between his faith in the celestial Desdemona and the obscene suggestions of the demonic Iago." (page 33 - from Will of the world: how Shakespeare became Shakespeare.)

That partial sentence sparked a minor riot in my brain, thinking about the comment alongside a critical, scholarly analysis of Lonesome Dove, so in Othello, Desdemona, Othello and Iago, Id, Super Id and Ego? No, that's not right, maybe I've got the order all wrong. I knew should've taken better notes back in that advanced psych class.

Ah crap, more on podcasting, which certainly isn't new around here.

Anyway, back on topic:
Forging an alliance is important, even in day-to-day transactions. Friday, Thursday, some time last week, a newspaper reporter called me for a quote about Mac computers (& the intel question). Like that's any kind of news, but the referral came from a certain lass who is as cute as a button and works in a certain coffee shop.

My quote, or the reporters very brief observation about me, was that I'm the kind of guy who makes note of the number of Apple laptops in coffee shop, soaking up wireless and caffeine. Today's count? Close to a dozen Apples and one Dell, but that could be me, I'm not scientific. But I did ask why I was referred to the reporter.

"Dude, Kramer, man, I thought you'd like her, you know," said the cutest of the coffee girls.

All about alliances.

Audio tid-bit: Snoop versus Led Zep. Well, maybe that link will work again. It was fun.

Another audio tid-bit, maybe this link will work better, Pink Floyd reunited.

From the "Weird stats" department:
Greater than 80% of the site's traffic is from "direct request," as in, either bookmark in a browser or typing the name into the browser. After that? The highest pointer is Horoscopes 4 U, weighing in at a mere 1.76%.

From the archeology department:
(Or tabloid journalism, I'm not sure which) comes this little story that will shake up our pre-history European history. Native American?

Cherchez les poisson:
He ain't big, but he's something. Lots of fight. Nice, tiny bass. Monday morning's fish:

21 days on the road.
Musical accompaniment? Cory Morrow's "21 days on the road," which just seemed fitting.

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>What's one thing that everyone has to do in San Antonio? Go to the Alamo (drafthouse). To see a movie. And have dinner. While in San Antonio.

It's not very complicated, and while it's okay, it's not quite as good as the Alamo Drafthouse in my backyard. There seemed to be on extra step in the whole process, something that was missing from original's organic feeling. Food was good, film was certainly entertaining. But there's a sense that the original Alamo in Austin is better.

But that could be me - I might be wrong.

Unfortunate fashion decisions?

Does blue eye shadow go with a pierced eyebrow?

Some how, I got to SA without a change of clothes. Toothbrush, toothpaste, but no change of clothes. Does it look bad? Probably.

"You can have all the hidden agendas you want, as long as they don't interfere with my hidden agenda."

"The solution to any problem is implicit in its definition," Ellen's First Rule.

Astrofish dot net, SA Slang for "Go Spurs Go."
I'm typically not a big sports fan. But I'm in SA about once a month for work, and the writing about the Spurs, as of late, has caught my literary eye. Sports writing usually catches my literary ire, but the stuff pouring out seems to be pretty good. With apologies to the advertising copywriter.

More thinking food.
I want to be like Apple, not like Microsoft. do one thing, and try to do it the best. Be the best.

Not that it matters, but the big guy at Apple is a Pisces. Astrofish.net? Got "fish" in the title? (Probably just a coincidence.)

Or the Piper (sandals) way?

Piper Sandals, one model, fine-tuned, over the years, it became four models. The second half of the line wasn't introduced until almost 20 years later. Besides, calling it "four models" is kind of a trick, after all, the sandals are either slip on or strap, black or brown. Four variations on a single theme. hand-made, in San Antonio.

I keep meaning to do a business analysis of the "Piper Sandal Model," but I never can finish it.

Currently reading?
Will of the world: how Shakespeare became Shakespeare.

I'm still proud of yesterday's fish.

Fish on! (Friday)
Happiness? Define happiness? Happiness is a five-pound bass.

Purple Crappie jig, in about 8 feet of water, crappie pole with heavy line. Too bad the pictures don't do this behemoth justice.

image image

Friday's Fish, in five acts
While it's Friday, and while I should be working on packing up for the weekend in San Antonio, for a quick gig at the bookstore, I got off on thinking about two favorite topics, books and music.

But first, a word from our sponsor!
[style=floatpicright>image[/style>(Not really.)
I'd booked a whole day to do this: set up another home network, with Apple Airport, for a friend. I didn't really get tired of it, but it is a little strange to have someone parked outside your trailer's door, with a laptop plugged into her cigarette lighter, soaking up free bandwidth. I did a system upgrade, I did a little messing around with wires and cables, and I spent, maybe, twenty minutes actually working. The rest of the time? Lord knows I've got some Capricorn friends who can talk a lot.

We tried a couple of pictures, but the photographer complained about a reflection, "That's just my forehead."

Act I: Cherchez les poissons?
Many nibbles. No solid hooksets. Oh well, they were just little fish.

"No man, I've seen you catch fish here before," what the neighbor said, "like, three in in about five minutes."

Act II:
Sandy's for dinner. Price has gone up. Hamburger inflation. Might have to find a new Thursday-Saturday special. $2.79, $3.40 with tax.

Act III:
Bubba's iMac, sitting on the couch. Trying to figure out which CD is the right one to slide in and make it all better.

Apple Computers are kind of like girlfriends, require constant updating?

No, that one didn't work.

Apple Computers are like girlfriends, require...

Act IV:
Wherein the hurricane season begins in earnest.

Act V:
Exactly why I live like a monk.

Food for thought
Or just roadside food. At home. In Austin. On a hot afternoon in June.

Still in a little bit of a daze, and for some reason, maybe hauling a shoulder bag around, I've got a slightly sore back. Not too sore to avoid fishing, of course.

I ambled downtown to fetch a few items out of the mailbox, avail myself of some coffeine so I'd still be awake for an afternoon reading, and then, passing the hot dog vendor at 6th & Congress, I had a hot dog. Just onions and cheap yellow mustard.

Fresh bun, "all - beef" dog, $2. Seemed like a deal. Perfect.

Then, passing a favored convenience store, I had a big styrofoam cup filled with brown, fizzy water. For some reason, the Diet Dr. Pepper tastes better when it comes from that one fountain. Don't know why. Probably have the syrup setting wrong. Who cares? It's good.

One other image, from the trail, there was a guy, not far from auditorium shores, floating in a tube, beer in one hand, fishing pole in the other, and that guy? He was wearing black felt (cowboy hat), blue jeans, work boots, wife-beater. Made me think about this one:

(Life imitates art?)

Small website changes?
Improvements. Always looking for new ideas.

I did a form letter to most of the paid subscribers and as each monthly payment cycled through, I copy and pasted the note to the individual subscribers.

About three-quarters of the subscribers didn't respond. Almost one quarter changed e-mail addresses or the mail bounced. But a small percentage responded with an overwhelming approval and frequently, no suggestions at all.

But there's always one.

That one was, in my mind, pretty damn good.

The way I read the suggestion, the nugget of information I gleaned, was about making a suggestion for a course of action, like a generic "homework" assignment. Some suggested course of action that would help. A mantra, a meditation, a method of dealing with the current astrology weather. Hint: something a little more than a quote from Shakespeare's secular canon.

When looking through the site's access log, the bulk of the traffic hits last week's scope. The free one. Subscriptions go through to the subscriber side, and then there's the web diary traffic. It seems to be completely unrelated to the scopes. While this log only accounts for a fraction of the traffic, the weblog directory "astrofish.net/xenon" now accounts for almost a two-thirds of the traffic, by volume.

Works two ways, I've got blog readers and then scope readers. There doesn't seem to be much crossover traffic, and from the informal poll, that seems to be the case.

Maybe I'm reading the stats wrong, too. "Don't make me no never mind, no how," as we say around here.

I'm rather grateful for that one suggestion. I'm working on it. I was typing up a script to read for next week's audio file, and what I figured? That would be the best place to start.

It's all about being able to scale the work. The work force, the "astrofish dot net" team, as it were, consists of one person and one cat. The cat's on salary. I have to fend for myself. Odd, a quick review of the contents of the pantry, the single cupboard in this place? A crate of cat food and some canned tuna. Plus a little leftover chocolate. The ice box also has a bunch of live bait, but never mind that part now.

Not much in the people food department. Not that it matters. What does matter has to do with stylistic suggestions for some element that could be added to the scopes., Especially for the "value-added" section. So I think I'll give it a spin.

That's the beauty of thinking small.

[style=floatpicright>image[/style> I wonder if it's kosher to write about a "Two-Meat Tuesday" if I never even approached BBQ? Sure it is. Besides, the thematic elements are certainly there, even if I missed BBQ completely. Anyway, up on the West Side, in El Paso? I wandered into a coffee whop Monday night, and the guy behind the counter asked if I wanted my usual. "Isn't your name Roger?" I don't think so, but thanks for asking.

It's a tale of swamp coolers and casinos:
Started out "Chez Grace y Bubba," and had to run off with clients. Got in a couple of more readings. On the way to the airport, I had a chance to dash through Cafe Dali, and I ordered up a drink, "Just the way I like my women, iced espresso...."

Second time I was regarded as a "regular." Been six months, most near, since I've been in El Paso. I don't think once every six month qualifies as a regular. Of note, though, Cafe Dali is advertising free WiFi. Didn't get a chance to test it, but it's nice to see. Looks like a couple of new subdivisions have been added since I was last there, plus there's that new Bucky's. Several, I think.

I was explaining that "generational thing," and I had an idea. Maybe too much coffee, but how about a "Texas Mountain Standard Tribe"?

Music: "They call me the Breeze...."

"Hey Kramer," Grace's littlest Leo asked, "what time's your flight?"

I gave her a time.

"Oh good," she dryly replied, "only 17 hours, thirty minutes until you leave."

So nice to be loved. She did bake some cookies Tuesday afternoon, and she did give me a bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies to travel with.

Music: "Freebird!"

Swamp coolers and casinos:

Grace's place was running with a swamp cooler. Know what that is? Old-fashioned "air-conditioner." Water dripped onto pads and the air is sucked through the pads, creating cool, damp air. Good for the skin, and the idea only really works well in dry environment like a desert town. Like El Paso. Cool. Excellent sleeping arrangement. Except for the guy who snores.

We did manage, despite ailments, injuries and general fatigue, to hit the casino, and somehow, at least two of us walked out with more money than we walked in with.

Tuesday's "featured" bumper sticker?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
But back in Austin? I rolled the suitcase back to Shady Acres after popping 50 cents for a bus ride downtown. I crossed the "bat bridge," just at sunset. Sounds like the cat will howl all night long.

What was odd? At some point, Tuesday afternoon, gathered around Grace's big screen TV, there was a news shot of Austin. The bat bridge. I moaned, "That's my bridge."

Mountain Standard Time
It's the Western United States. It's one of the largest military installations, scattered between two states. It's history and space aliens, and occasionally, an Indian casino. It's part of my home.

Sitting in Grace & Bubba's backyard, New Mexico is visible to the north, old Mexico is clearly visible to the south, and the Franklin mountains are east, creating the backdrop. Odd tech fact? I've got a "state-wide" pager, but it doesn't work on western flank of the Franklins. Works in East El Paso, but not west.

Las Cruces is "close" to the point of almost being next door by West Texas standards, but going across the mythical state line? It's like stepping into another country.

Long days into night. Off to Austin Tuesday afternoon.

Good luck, Sister
(Actual fact, I think it's Sister's birthday - I'd better stop off in Juarez and get her a gift.)

As if.

I found a tiara at Wal-Mart for 88 cents. Got that in the mail to her the other day. I called, just to make sure, left her this message, "I just sent your birthday present, and if it's the wrong address, let me know before I mail it, and I'll put down the right address. Thanks!"

Of course, I didn't read her address to her, and I turned the phone off immediately thereafter. Always trying make everyone's day a little more surreal.

On the way from breakfast, I noticed that there's a new Starbucks on Mesa. Wow, wasn't there last time. It's the insidious growth everywhere.

Funniest comment from work? After a busy "run" in the afternoon, I took a break, and stepped outside to get some coffee. I stepped back in, and a nice-looking young man, well-groomed, acceptable tats, "Hey, my mom said to tell you, 'Hi dad.'"

That was amusing, good for a laugh.

Sudden fear? Nope, "What your birthday?"

The year did add up except, perhaps, in a tribal society.

Seems like the boys had a bit of trouble Sunday afternoon while Grace and I were working. Seems like there was a an upset with the four-runners. Quads. The fun-mobiles. Now they're called "Quad-Errs."

BBQ + work
It's Sunday morning. I'm on Austin time, and everyone else is moving on local time, an hour later.

There's a fishing show on TV, Cookie (Sagittarius) is snoring on the other couch, and Grace is getting ready to haul us to breakfast and then off to work.

The BBQ was last night, some kind of franchise or chain, Dave's something BBQ. The St. Louis style ribs were good, but by the time we got seated, I was obnoxious enough, they'd do anything to get us out of there.

Grace's daughters were getting annoyed with me and my camera, as I kept trying to get that picture of the back of the waitress's shirt. The littlest of the Leo's, 10 or 12 now, dryly observed, "Kramer, I bet you got beat up a lot when you were a kid."

No, but I do get it these days.

The wireless is working, and that's a fine thing. Makes life on the road a little easier.

After breakfast on Saturday, and getting to the hotel, and setting up, I slipped out of my sandals. So I spent the greater portion of the day barefoot. A couple of people remarked about that, and pointed out that - straight up fact - 80% of the population thinks better when barefoot.

We do what we can.

Out on their back patio, the hummers (Hummingbirds) are just buzzing around.

Barefoot, reeking of patchouli?
How long has that been?

I thought about it, I mean, this is one of my favorite times to travel, especially around the southwest since the weather is so accommodating. But think about the mechanics of the travel, right? Put shoes on, take shoes off, why not just skip that step? I tossed the sandals in the carry bag, and hopped a cab to the airport. Nothing new there, I suppose, it just seems like it's ben a long time since a barefooted, long-haired guys who smell like patchouli has showed up to check in at the gate.

To be honest, I printed my boarding pass ahead of time, so it's not like I had to check in anyplace? Still, barefoot was different. Only, this was leaving Austin, so I wasn't any more odd. Pass through security and get dressed. Again, nothing new.

Heard on the news, in the waiting lounge, "There's a new shoe out that simulates running barefoot." (I was barefoot - I mean, ah this is just getting silly.)

I was reading an article, all about the economics of touring. Some musicians, most, in fact, make more money touring than by selling music. Yeah, so El Paso is whistle stop on the Kramer Tour. I still love it.

[style=floatpicright>image[/style> All the fine dining in the world. All the nice places. San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth. The best Tex-Mex breakfast is still the truckstop in El Paso. Shredded beef and scrambled eggs, a flour tortilla and rather hot - more than piquant - hot sauce.

Might not be the good life for some, but it's my life, and I'm liking it. How's that song go? Life on the road is the life of rambling man?

Then, there always has to be some BBQ, right?

Travel notes
Busy Friday. Clients, all day long. Red-eye to El Paso & points west.

Unrelated, that tenure note:
Ten years. 10 years? Which always makes me think of Ten Years After.

A "block quote," some place from the last week? "It's sure brave of you to leave those archives up."

Mercury is not retrograde!
I've had, just in the last ten days, more than a dozen people ask me that question. There's certainly a temptation, especially with astrology, to blame the planets for problems here. What's going on? Jupiter is almost stationary - relative to our home here on Earth.

A common expression, around here? "Just fixin' to," as in, for those not familiar with the local vernacular, "Just about to approach handling said (situation, task, job, endeavor)."

Jupiter is "just fixin' to" turn around. Dramatic, pregnant pause. He's moving slow, and he's associated with Lady Luck. The Fates, spinning their webs, the yarns of our lives. Or, like that expression so aptly sums it up, "just fixin' to."

So it's not Mercury, he's not the culprit, it's Jupiter. Plus the Moon goes dark.

Tips on tipping:
While it's not actually engraved in stone, it is baked on a tile, at The Hideout Coffee Space-

Cherches les poissons:
What's a Friday without a couple of bass?
image image

Fish Friday
There's "Flash Friday," and the "Friday Five," so here's my Friday collection.
Cherchez les poissons:

image image image
(two tiny bass and another fish)

Sign by the roadside:

And finally, an image from a convenience store. I was dripping creek water, and I picked up my breakfast, around 4 in the afternoon, a hot dog, fresh off the burner at the store. Dog looked like it'd been on the burner for days. Some cheap yellow mustard, a stale bun? I'm good to go.

In front of me were two people. One was a fairly ragged looking guy with long hair, unpressed shirt half-buttoned, hair sort of longish and scraggly, maybe hadn't shaved all day, sandals, shorts, wait, that could be me. Anyway, he stepped up the counter and fumbled with some cash. He had an expensive (and relatively good) bottle of red wine, Merlot, and a bag of chips. Odd combination, good wine, cheap chips?

Behind him, ahead of me? A tall, stately and elegantly clad lady with long, blonde hair, purple toenail polish that matched her fingernail polish that probably matched accessories, for all I know, and it looked like she was in the leftover part of the day's suit, slacks and a white shirt. not sure about the sandals, probably a designer label. Cheap beer. One, sixteen ounce can. In a barrio coozie - brown, single serving bag.

Travel, customer service & ranting (& raving)
Not necessarily in that order.
[style=floatpicright>image[/style>I was sitting under the shade at Sandy's, one fine spring afternoon, and a lady kept waving at us, me, specifically, from a car, while in line for the drive-through. She gets out, then realizes that I'm not who she thought I was, but we carry on a conversation. She decides she wants to get a reading from me - just another person who wants an astrological consultation - my bread and butter - the day job.

I get a call, a few weeks later, we set up a time and place for a meeting. No show. That was one of the days I'd left the cell phone at home, write it off as my mistake, and not worry about it.

We set up a tentative second meeting. I also scheduled other appointments on either side, so when it was a second no-show, I wasn't really wasting any time.

Set up a third meeting. 5:30 PM. No show. At 5:45, I call. "I'll be there by 6." At 6:15, I call, "I'll be there by 7." At 7:30, two hours of my time, I leave. I did try calling one more time, but the line was busy.

Then, the next morning, I get this message, something to the effect of, "I was there at 7:30, and I don't know why you don't want to come to my place, instead?"

I am righteously indignant, and I'm not about to do anything that involves possibly high-profile (or unstable) clients when I'm mad. I'll cool off before returning a call. The first, I can blame myself, the second? I was possibly at fault for not confirming for sure. But the third time? There's no excuse. So far, I haven't been cool and collected enough to return the call.

There's a reason why I pick public places for readings, neutral ground, and it's both for the safety of the client and, more importantly to me, myself.

It's also an organic process - one I've developed over the years, and so far, it's proven to be very effective. I quit doing initial consultations in at my place years ago. Many years ago. Bad form.

I've got a full schedule from now until, like, mid-June with appointments. And I'm booked just about every weekend, from now until, I think, like September. The other evening? That was two hours I could've been fishing. I did pick up two other clients, while I was waiting, so the time wasn't a complete waste. Plus a free meal. But still.

Spotty postings this weekend:
Depends on the WiFi in El Paso & Las Cruces, I can usually grab e-mail, but my sweet Leo hostess has a mean firewall for her kiddies, and that barrier seems to interfere with some of my connections. Maybe a coffee shop in the area has free wireless.

Scorpio notations:
My own, dear sweet mother, Ma Wetzel, had an issue with her cell phone, as in it dialed me the other morning. She claims it wasn't her. Can't argue with caller ID, though. So I reminded her to check the scope for Scorpio, and she laughed, then proceeded to tell me how right it was, because those "darn, meddling squirrels were uprooting the flowers, eating the bird food," and otherwise wreaking havoc in her domestic life. In other bits of family gossip, the political cousin? She's moved from one office in Washington to another. I'd mention names and offices, but that would attract undue attention. One year at a family gathering, she's the one who exclaimed, "Omigawd, my secretary reads your stuff every day. She thinks you're funny."

Runs in the family?

Why I find this stuff? I don't know. The little voices suggested it (Fat Boy Slim video), but, Not Safe For Work (nekkid girl dancing).

Go Spurs (the very unofficial professional athletics desk/division of astrofish.net):
Closing quote, says it all:
"What we have done really well is we haven't screwed it up. But that's it."

Nota Bene:
I work San Antonio about once a month these days, so, by default, I'm now a "Go Spurs" guy.

Plus, I wondered why I always liked El Paso. Same with San Antonio. Leave it to a Virgo guy to explain it to me:

[style=floatpicright>image[/style>>So you're headed out to El Paso tomorrow. You know, that's “ my hometown.”
>>Really? I love El Paso.
>I was actually going to offer you my condolences.
>>(Laughs) No, I love El Paso, for the same reason I love San Antonio. It's one of the few cities that are unaffected by suburbanization. I mean, El Paso's definitely grown, but it's still pretty old school there.

I really should do something.
While I was getting ready, or surfing, actually, or maybe I was fishing, I happened across a site that made a big splash out of the fact that it was ten years old.

Ten years, in internet time, or on internet time, which should it be?

I hastily gathered up my materials and thought about it. In about a month, maybe six weeks, I'll be entering a second decade of the column, Fishing Guide to the Stars.

Every week, without fail, for over ten years now.

How did Waylon sing it?

"Ten years down the road, making one night stands
Speeding my young life away
Tell me one more time just so I understand..."

(Gratuitous Waylon allusion)

Which leads to the way back machine, which leads to a movie:

Dazed and Confused:

I tend to favor the original Alamo (downtown) because I can walk there, so parking isn't even an issue. Plus the programming tends to be, well, a little off-beat, is the polite way to put it. Odd, even. Weird, on occasion. Or "cult-like."


The food's usually pretty good, and for a date? Dinner, movie, drinks, all in one stop. Only, as usual, I was alone. Not that it bothers me, because, after all, I do live like a monk.

I remember seeing this movie the first time, a screening. Anne Richards was Gov., and she introduced the film, "Movie and politics are similar," was the gist of what she said, with a punch line about the world of make-believe. Or something. I don't recall.

I saw the movie again, a few weeks later, and what was odd, one of the people with us that night? She was born after the movie took place. (Hint: the movie is set for May 28, 1976 - graduating class.)

Two components make this film great: soundtrack and dialogue. And some of the camera work. So I'm not good at simple math. It's a weird trip to listen to the music, and I was busy trying to date some of the tunes, but alas, my musical trivia isn't that good. Part of my fondness stems from the locations, the "Top Notch" on Burnet Road, the football field, and, I think, some of the "high school" shots, plus the Moon Tower - all local. Then the closing shot, a highway to Houston, for Aerosmith tickets.

Opening scene? Sweet Emotion. Then there was Frampton? Of course, Slow Ride. And a host of others, slightly nostalgic.

What I missed was whatever the sign said, "family plot" was all I caught.

I had a couple of notes, but one I didn't find, and I'm doing this late night from memory, the red-headed "chick," she was commenting about how, "The 60's were something, the 70's are nothing, and the 80's? We'll be in our 20's! that'll mean something!"

(Side bar item: I was probably Slater, not Woody.)

Bigfoot's back:
Reported in Canada, which can't be true, the real Bigfoot lives in East Texas.

Credit check:
This is bad: they say I don't exist.

(via TFG) Musical question, "Is this the way to Amarillo?"

E-mail addiction:
Not me. I can quit, any time I want to. No, really, I can.

Two-meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> Weird to have Tuesday after a Monday. Or maybe not, but Monday was a holiday, and this is going to make for a short week. Plus there's always the road, and I've got to throw some clothes in a bag for El Paso (TX) and Las Cruces (NM). Plus motivation was at an all-time low Tuesday morning. Except for some fun fishing.

Since motivation was a problem, I just played with a few little fishes, and I was pleased to see that one of the fishes turned out to be good-sized, plus she had the nicest coloring along her fins, a decent shade of orange.

There were two bass, as well, but those guys wouldn't hold still long enough for pictures, and one of them was a fairly healthy little guy. I did get one on the dock, but he slipped out of my grasp before I got a picture. Love that fighting attitude. I wonder why there aren't any high school football teams called the "Fightin' Bass" or something similar? Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wombats, Owls, Badgers, Panthers, just about all the wildlife - except for bass.

Random images:
(Plus a requisite "cherchez les poissons")
image image image

image image image

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Odd bits
Why coffee works?

Rejected horoscopes:
I was fishing, like that comes as any surprise, and I was about to pack it in for the evening, this was Monday night. Couple of little fish, nothing worthwhile, and I noticed a nice, big nightcrawler, wriggling on the ground. I picked it up, it squirmed, and since it was headed for the lake, and certainly to be fish food, I just hastened the process. Caught two more fish with that little feller. All's well that ends well?

Mea Culpa:
The name of the ? Charlie Robison.

Foley Vision
At the original Alamo (Drafthouse).

It's weird place full of weird people with strange notions about what is entertainment. Lasst night was some movie starring "Weng-weng" as Agent 003 and 1/2.

Foley Vision is the excellent accompaniment that goes with the strange offerings, making it even better. A couple of guys, dubbing dialogue and cars noise, the shoot outs, the special effects, adds a dimension to an otherwise unknown, and for good reason, film.


It's a rainy night in Texas
(I suppose the lyrics should be changed, but don't count on that now.)

The rain was coming down in sheets on the way back into San Antonio. A truck veered in front of us, a slight mistake in judgement on the driver's part, the truck driver, and he bounced the truck over a curb and headed in the correct direction. Next intersection was a mini-van, just sitting idly in the ditch in the median. Then there was the truck stopped in the middle of the road, high water seems to confuse SA drivers. Actually, just the mention of moisture will confuse a native Texas driver.

We were coming into San Antonio Saturday night, late. Go Spurs. We'd just been out to see Charlie Robinson at


image[/style[I only know of the performer in a peripheral manner. But as I was listening to him sing outside, rocking right along, then, after a hiatus and hasty move inside to continue the show, I realized that there's a special sound that can only be captured in certain venues. Places like Austin's Broken Spoke, Sons of Herman Hall in Dallas, or Floores in Helotes (Helotes is on the road towards Bandera from San Antonio.)

Holiday weekend, Spurs game in town, best thing to do? Get out of town. Which we did. Robert Earl Keen's Live #2 was recorded there, maybe a dozen years back, and this was a chance to check it out. What's good news is that just about any weekend, any part of the Texas Cowboy Rock group will be playing there.

What was better news was Charlie Robinson's gig. From VIP: seating, to the onset of the rain, it was just a well-rounded show. Midstream, almost literally, we all had to move inside because of Texas weather, that ever fickle mistress.

From rock to nothing but an acoustic setup, though, the transition took less than half an hour, and the results were rather pleasing, on more than one level. I mean, it's nice to be in out of the rain, but also, to see a performer in a more private setting, a small dance hall with a minimal stage, just a guitar, electric bass, mandolin, and the drummer - this impressed me the most - he was working with a single snare and a bass drum.

Inside, the band rolled through a few songs, a couple of favorites, then Charlie Robinson got his wife - or some chick - from the audience. Couldn't quite make out the dialogue. I found it all amusing because the singer was getting rather intoxicated, I guess the Spurs won? And it was late, plus the stage shift didn't help matters.

He rolled through a few songs, starting in one direction, than slowing rambling to a stop, only to pick up a few minutes latter with more stage banter.

"Some people call me a joker, some call me a gangster of love ... I'll be around your home town."

I picked a time to leave before what would probably become a series of encore performances, stretching the evening's show out longer than I needed to be there. But under the South Texas sky, I start wondering about sounds.

It's that high and lonesome sound that just doesn't happen in some places. But under the stars, or even in the main room at Floore's, it's there. Ambiance. Spoke's got it. Couple of place, Dos in Odessa, and I'd suggest it's not in Dallas, but there's the Son of Herman Hall, and it's captured that sound.

Fish Friday
Nothing but little pictures of little fish.

image image image


image image image

image image

image image


Hand coding and more (unrelated) material
I got started in one direction and changed midstream. I was going to work on some of the issues of delivering content each week, and the amount of effort that goes into the hand-coding of certain details of the , but after a second jolt of coffee, I forgot what the point was.

On towards other topics? All pretty much unrelated to anything?

Another film, missing from the
list? Obviously, a "modern" classic, too? Giant.

A [b]special kind[/b] of design .

About weblogs at work:
Fortunately, this isn't a
problem here. I am the boss. I can write whatever the heck I feel like writing. Not even remotely connected to the problem of blogging in the workplace? Researchers comes from. Sarchasm: That pesky ethics thing.

I recall what a certain palm reader from New Mexico once said to me, "In New Mexico, our politicians aren't like they are in Texas, those Texas politicians know how to steal with both hands."

Odds and ends
Just a couple of pictures. That's all. Nothing to see here, move along.






Weird statistics?
Just a casual glance at the stats for the site and the subscriptions, see, way back when I first got into this business, then again, years later, according to a New York editor/publisher, I was told that 80% of the folks who read horoscopes are female. ? I'm seeing about 55-45 split, but that's just based on names in the subscription rolls.

Look up
rhetorical question. Good stuff. I'd forgotten most of those terms. Unrelated copyright notices? I'm not entering the "creative commons" copyright fray. I just stick a 'circle c' on my work, and I don't worry about it. But I have to admit, as Fredlet pointed out, I'm pleased when other steal ideas from me. I don't worry about it - at all. I've got a unique style, plus I tend to shy away from conventional wisdom.

So the rhetorical question is, "You shy way from all wisdom?"

Ah well, yes, there you have it. Inbox goodness: > I so enjoy your weekly horoscopes, that right now, I can't think of any bonus
> that would be better than that.
> P.S. And for an American, ton français est très bien. Je suis impressionnée!
> Merci encore

> Any suggestions for a feature or bonus that you would like to see?
> I already view the entire site itself as a "bonus feature".

Here at FGS World HQ, we always
to please. Wanderings: I took a quick swim, wandered up to meet some clients in a typical South Austin venue, did my usual prognostications, then, as I was addressing one person, I got the come back, "It's not like you're not weird, either." Or something to that effect.

I walked back to the creek, took another dip, wandered home and grabbed a pole, after a detour downtown. Caffeine, in hand, I went back to fishing. A little writing, a little fishing, a little reading, and just for once, there is a content solitude in life.

An off-the-cuff comment got me thinking, or can it be "off the cuff" if you're in a sleeveless shirt? So anyway, if I were making a trip to New York City, as they call it, "The City," what's one thing I would do? I think I'd do the Empire State Building. Or, more important to me? MOMA. But that's just me. Cherechez les poisson:

Tiny fish du jour?

image image
Brothers and sisters?

Two-meat Tuesday's special
[style=floatpicright]imageRather a warm day. Okay, so it's hot. The fish were jumping, but not interested in anything I had, all afternoon. I returned the favor by ignoring them, too.

Weather prognostications? It's simple, see while Saturn was in Cancer, we averaged a lot of extra rain, something like an extra ten inches for a couple of years. At the end of July, when Mercury goes backwards, Saturn enters Leo. Got three years of dry times ahead.

Just an estimate, as always, I could be wrong. Part Dos: This one was too funny, to me.

I was walking up from the hike and bike trail, through the parking lot that adjoins Riverside & Lamar. There's the theater there, plus a municipal building, I think, and the parking lot was full. A little car followed me, sort of like a lost puppy, trailing along behind me, hoping I was headed to a parked car. I reached into my pocket and pretended to dig around for keys. Then I kept on going at the end of the parking lot, over the lawn, down an alley, and on into BBQ. To think, parking stories like this would be a good horoscope metaphor. Wait, I'd better this one up. Cherechez le poissons: Me and this little feller, we teased for a portion of the afternoon, but I finally coaxed him up for a photo-op. Cute as can be. Now, if he'll just grow up, maybe we can dance again.

image image

Nothing to do with anything: Viral deodorant advertising video. Even more nothing to do with anything: Rank and File's Sundown (and I have no idea why I was looking for that, some musical notation I was working towards? Early "cowpunk"?)

How to be an astrologer, part number whatever
I've lost count. I can only write so many tips on how to get into this business and stay in this business. But it all came back, like an echo, the other afternoon. But first, let's back up a minute, and go back to a point, say, about 6 or 8 years ago, big "whole" (something - something new agey) expo.

"Such short-lived wits do wither as they grow."
Shakespeare's Love's Labor's Lost (III.i.54)

[style=floatpicright]imageBig deal, big event, and I'd offered to let "Bubba," who was "between careers" at the moment, help me in exchange for a certain amount of cash. I figured his natural huckster ability would blend well. I figured wrong. BBQ, bourbon? He's a "go to" person. New age hype? Not exactly his bag.

Forward to the present time. He's working at a large, unnamed computer place these days, using that natural huckster ability to sell. A star performer, I'm sure. He called the other evening, saying there was this guy at work who wanted to be a professional astrologer.

"Oh, I've got a buddy who does that," Bubba said he told the guy, "here, I'll give you the ."

Bubba said he got as far as "astrofish" and the guy knew me. Bubba then added that the guy said, so this is now third-hand conversation, "That Kramer told me about how he was sleeping with all his clients."

How many times must I repeat this? I live like a monk. (Anecdotal

Now, what became crystal clear, in my little pea-brain, was that Bubba, who's actually sat beside for the duration of a real "trade show" while I've worked? He's seen me in action. He's seen what I do. He understands the real side of the business. He's also very aware of my monk-like stature. For years. Goes back to that expo when he helped me, half a dozen years ago. Bubba's seen the backend of the business.

"If you saw this guy, you'd understand why he said that," Bubba assured me.

I haven't a clue as to who this person is, the unnamed character who said that I said, and then it all dissolves into a mess of third-hand conversations.

However, in my way of seeing the world, I do have
of work available. Plus there's a couple of out.

Then there's the regular scopes that roll over every week, plus a weekly audio file. Monday morning, I was rather burnt from the fishing trip, but I did manage to spit out a weekly audio file, just as the moon was at its fullest. I'm sure that the audio file is just as confused as I was. but I was trying capture a moment.

What I like about my gig is that it involves a lot of writing. But writing without any kind of human interaction? That's a problem. Whether it's family and friends, or the person who served me (coffee, BBQ, chicken-fried), I tend to interact with the world. Senses, music for the soul, not an ivory tower.

The whole discussion dovetails right into an experience from the last month or two on the road, as a young Scorpio was asking about a mentoring program, and if I offered such a thing.

The problem is, there's no mentoring for this business. It's been years, but I've heard about other folks who do mentor, but I'm not sure I can do that.

The secret? To me? This whole gig started from an academic curiosity and bit of a whim. Come on, a title, like Fishing Guide to the Stars? It wasn't all that serious. How about goals? What are the goals? To become rich and famous? Better off pursuing a gig as a musician, except, maybe not in Austin. But the idea that a gig is full of money and fame? How about a doing a job because it bring internal satisfaction?

I had three nibbles this morning, one tiny fish, smaller than bait, really. But I did fish for most near an hour - looks like it will be hot today. Need to remember to swim in the cool water of Barton Creek. Action. Take some action. or better yet, put the theories and ideas into print. To borrow an old cliche, run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes.

Working days, lazy nights?
Obviously, my little friends missed me.

"Rock Bass," small Large Mouth, bait.
image image image
(It's good to be home?)

Unrelated: lists Two caught my attention. Top 100 Movies seemed lopsided, and it missed a couple of important, even seminal, cult favorites that ought to be there. Use your imagination. Obviously, that list didn't. Rocky Horror? Clerks? Repo Man? El Mariachi? Blog Celebrities? I recognize a few of the names, but none of my are even on the "C" list. That bites. Or maybe, I'm just not hip enough - too obscure?

Texas Gulf coast, and the road home
I can tell some stories with pictures, and other tales, are best left to printed form. Maybe all the stories will be collected and published. Maybe I'll just have a few, errant memories.

The road homeward skirted the edge of the rich and fertile town, the little car's AC blowing cold. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, not "wrong" wrong, just slightly askew.

Temperature in one town, on the bank building? 105 degrees.

It's barley past the middle of May, "30 minutes to the coast, 5 minutes from Hell."

Sort of depends.

From the dock, to the signs in the small towns, to a DQ, through Pandora - wouldn't I like P.O. box there - through
China Grove, Northbound on 87. Unlike the song, which is about Southbound on 87.









Pier fishing
Late at night, under the lights.

Leg one
Austin to SA.

No news here. Stopped to shop along the way, like, pick up fishing tackle that probably won't survive the weekend on the pier.

"www.astrofish.net: Made in the USA"*

(*some part are assembled in Mexico)

Pre-fish fish, part one
Just amazing. Littlest guy in a while (I really think it's girl, but who knows?)

imageThis littler feller ran, and I mean ran with the bait, a Crappie Bite, all over. Up, down, in, out, I was, except I could tell he was lightweight, it felt like a bass. Fooled me. Went deep, I pulled it back in, drove towards the shallows, I wheeled him out with the line, and finally got him ashore, long enough to safely remove the hook and splash back in the water.

Rejected horoscopes
Ever wonder about the editorial process?

"(Sun Sign): I saw an ad for Australia. Nice, beaches, multi-colors, a palm tree I think, the usual stuff that goes into a shiny advertising slick, and the copy included 'AA Coupon.' Not that I would let my personal world-view be influenced by my own experiences, but when I saw 'AA Coupon,' I thought for sure that it was a blurb for a certain 12-Step program for people who drink too much.

"Just seemed to fit, but once again, I'm merely drawing on my own adventures. Plus a little nod to a certain entry in the my own terms of service for the website."

That's where I had to stop. Sort of glad I did.

Let's talk travel, m'kay?
Two trips that don't show up on the "professional" schedule?

I'm going fishing. down on the coast. Take a little time off because, frankly, June looks insane to me. Back to back working weekends with teaching a workshop in between, and still running the usual material through the site. Grinding out a weekly column. So I'll slide on out of here on Thursday evening, headed towards the Gulf Coast. Unrelated inbox goodies: > Your site, on the other hand, is probably accessible by some guy with an
> Atari on the far side of Pluto. Cherchez les (petite) poissons:

image image image
(more like bait)

"But you have heard of me?"

Two-meat platters
"Kramer, you have to be the worst Fishing Guide I ever heard of!"

"But you have heard of me?"

Hey, I'm not that bad. Or maybe I am, but frankly, I don't care. Doesn't bother me. At least, not too much.

"But you have heard of me?"

Did a late lunch reading, then ambled home, a little leftover brisket for the cat, a fresh box of Canadian Night Crawlers for my friends in the lake, and as I wandered downtown, I noticed that traffic was backing up. The lights were out.

In the dark, sort of. Didn't bother me a bit. Not too much, anyway. The power was out at Shady Acres, and I had a fresh dozen worms that needed to be refrigerated, and since the power was out, no e-mail, no phone, no electric anything?

Might as well fish. Cherchez les poissons! Wasn't much. I mean, the power out and all, and I suppose that did greatly inconvenience some folks. No e-mail. No phone since all my phones are cordless and require electricity. Reminds me, I need to send them a check. So I was sitting by the edge of the river, watching a cork bob along, and I pulled up a very cranky 4-inch bass. Cool. Got away before I had a chance to get his picture. Obviously from last year, and obviously very healthy, and not so obvious, or maybe it was, a good fighter. Lights came back on, and I worked for real, then I moseyed back down with some frozen shrimp, to try again. Another Sagittarius was down there, and we swapped lies while I caught another little perch, then another 4-inch bass. On a six inch worm. I did get this one's picture, not letting a little guy like that slip away unnoticed again. I was talking to him, while I grabbed the camera, "But you have heard of me?"

image image

Monday morning, I was up early, then the weather looked mean, so I went back to sleep. Tried to work, fingers wouldn't comply, so I grabbed some worms and fished. Good day for bait. Catching bait.

image image
image image
image image

Cherchez les poissons? I was reminded of the expression, "cherchez la femme," a few weeks back from an entry in a detective I was reading. Suitably modified for my lifestyle, it worked.

Sources and meanings?
Definitions (and gender). One purported explanation.

(Thanks to for the links.)

Odd collections
I collect some strange stuff.

[style=floatpicright]Whether it's a link about a
Mexican painter, backed up with a tech note about the worst food for keyboard, or if it's a picture of Brussel Sprouts as the dining option for supper?

I have no idea how any of this is connected. Sometimes, I wonder if it's not all just really random. image Off work.
Quick sex note? Sex habits of the far right?

I don't know, I caught that early sunday morning before breakfast. Some days, it doesn't change. I don't know the correct name for the situation, but one of the readers, a coworker, so to speak, she's a lesbian. we share similar tastes in women. So she was threatening to bare a breast for my pleasure. Only, as I suggested, it's just not an experience I desire. Overheard: "It's so hard to be nice, two days in a row," (Scorpio snickered).

Long and weird. Not weird bad, just long and weird. I'll be interested in seeing what the fallout is from Uranus and Mars.

Other interesting - to me - tidbit? Watching the same people, working with them, watching hair gradually frost, turning gray at the temples.

My internal alarm clock got me up before the regular alarm clock. Might've been the thunder and lightening, too. Or a hungry cat. It's not like she misses any meals, either.

I corrected a typo on yesterday's entry, then I looked around on the web, no real news, for me. But there was a curious item in my own stats: at 6 AM, more than a dozen guests were looking at the web journal.

It was 6 in the morning. On a Saturday. This doesn't involve sex or fishing, what were those people doing at that hour? I can only hope that they were still up from the night before, unlike me, just getting up to go to work. Best search string? I'm not kidding, straight from the log files:

"interesting places on uranus"

Wonder what these people are thinking? There was more than one occurrence of that search string.

I should do something from the Mars Hotel with Mars and Uranus in conjunction today.

"Did you know that the (local paper) wouldn't run our ad because they said they didn't do psychics?"

Which is odd, considering an astrology column runs in that same paper, every day.

What sort of other disruptions can happen? The hotel? I'm used to, for free, having wireless net access. I don't pay for it, I just absorb bandwidth on the 802.x spectrum. The network was down. It's not like I can complain about a free service. Fashion notes and astrology? I was wearing a pair of home-made earrings, hammered-nickel #3 willow blades, like a colorado blade from a spinner bait. Pair of them, in fact. I kept getting Pisces for readings. Coincidence? Fish lure earrings, Pisces readings? I think so.

Off to work
Gratuitous reminder: the details about travel & appearances are .

(Looking for something else, I found the correct

Friday the 13th, part two?
imageCherchez les poissons? I was going to say, "that was weird," but to be honest, it was a perfectly normal afternoon. Worked in the morning, walked around on the trail, came home and fished, caught a couple of small guys, and wanted to retire early. I had conversation with a guy fishing, under one of the bridges, and we sapped tales, tall tales, and "secret spots," but there's just something nice about being in a situation wherein one can fish, oh, say, maybe 300 days a years.

So it's not a big fish, the only really unlucky event was the fish I caught before this one, I reached for the handy phone (cam) and it was still sitting on the charger.

Maybe my luck will be better today. At work. Hope so. There's a good moon on the rise. From the "If you made it this far" department: I've got a couple of design questions, and rather than posting links with examples, I'll just describe what I've seen. On one site, it was a simple navigation bar, across the top. Little logo, little splash, company name, and so forth. Then there were maybe a half dozen buttons right underneath it. It was like, products, home, contact, blog, and news.

I liked the look. I like the simpler interface. I like easy design that places an emphasis on content, and something that makes navigation simple. So I thought about breaking out a separate section, and delineate between "news" and "blog," which, I guess, for lack of better description, is what this is. I'm pretty sure there are a large number "guests" who could care less about whatever pictures of fish I've got. Tough. There are also a a couple of guys who not only want to know about the fish, but more specific information, like time, tide, conditions, and most important, what were the fish hitting? What baits worked?

For me, it all runs together, here. When I'm fishing, I'm thinking about (insert sign here), or when I'm writing, I'm thinking about (insert bait here) or when I'm walking, I'm thinking about a topic that sounds a lot like something I was writing about earlier.

On another site, I regretted that there wasn't more to it, and I was sorry that the text was limited to a single, narrow column of fixed width (I'm guessing, maybe 500 pixels wide), but the only other option, besides a bare header with the title? Maybe a half dozen buttons off to the right-hand side. Again, a simple interface. Although, I think the text area should be proportional, not fixed, and I think the buttons could've been a little larger. It's not like 15-inch notebook screen is that large, but I'd like to see a more fluid display for the textual matter.

Finally, it's back to that one question, again, about breaking the scopes down to individual signs. Certainly increase my hits. Add a bandwidth problem by factor of 12, not to mention the hassles associated with the production mechanics.

The flip side of the "12 versus 1," and why I like the single column in its present format? The layout that has either either a header and adverts on the side? Or a three-column design?

What's better? What's easier, combining back-end tech and visual appeal. Plus some marketing? Where's the balance?

Here's an idea: send me links of designs that you really like.

Friday, the 13th. Part One.
"Red dog one, this is Blue Leader. The eagle has landed. Repeat: the eagle has landed."

"Blue Leader: this is Red dog one, roger that."

(A client sent some cash in the mail. I had to let 'em know it got here. Either the fun works, or the humor is lost.)

It might've been more amusing if I'd said the Grant had landed. That's the guy on the bill. Feet held up to the fire? That's what it felt like, the other evening. I was being quizzed on predications that had to do with timing. My timing was a simple (or arcane) assumption based upon the movement of several planets, the Sun, the Moon, not one drop of common sense, and little insider know-how. But it sure felt like my feet were being held up to the fire.

Not that it bothered me. Attention in the area: This web page, the print contained thereupon, and the rest of the images [b]do not[/b] constitute "journalism" or "main stream media" in any way, shape or form. Don't confuse my entertainment with actual fact, persons or places, living, dead, or just next door.

See the copyright notice for detail, if unclear of the concept. The Rules: I've got a couple, and rather than pretend that this is material that I preach, but don't practice, remember, I learned most of these rules the hard way.

One, no married men (you know what I mean, no one involved in a serious relationship, and even if the person says it's okay? Think about it.)

Two, no sleeping with the help (boss, servant, co-worker, employee).

Three, Why I life like a monk.

I need to work on these, I can see.

Four? Be more proactive? Whatever. Cherchez les poissons! (I've got figure out if I'm spelling that right, college French is like a pinprick spot of light in the distance.)

image image I was called out to help move furniture, early in the AM, and I opted to walk myself home, as it was sort of nice out, in a cloudy day way. Got home, had a sandwich, did a phone reading, and looked at the clock. As usual, I'd gone way over, but I wasn't too worried, no time for a nap, I dug through the worm bed, fetched up some nice, juicy crawlers, and I grabbed the pole. A couple of annoying kids were hanging around, drinking beer, talking trash, and sitting in my preferred spot, on the edge of the river, so I just moved over. One perch, quick like, and he wasn't much, but he was bigger than what I've been getting lately. A second, smaller one, then I had some real fun.

It looks like one of the bucks, formerly guarding the nest. After all his child-rearing efforts, he looks rested and refreshed. And mightily gamey, too, as he teased the bait for a while, then he struggled, and I finally got him landed. One of the young men was rather impressed.

[style=floatpicright]image Fish in one hand, fumbling for the camera with my other hand, I passed him the phone, posed, got a click, splashed the fish back in the lake, and listened to the congratulations. I put another worm on the hook and continued to work.

The kids wandered off, thankfully taking the empties with them. Nice guys.

Another neighbor wandered by, and he watched while I nailed this last little guy, who was a lot bigger than the previous ones. Not the biggest yet, but nice for a small hook and a small worm. With an audience, even. Food notation: Thursday and Saturday special at Sandy's: Burger, fries, medium drink, $2.95. With tax? $3.18. Cash only, no credit cards. I made my dining companions (Sagittarius & Pisces) hang around a little longer, as I was hoping for another good sunset. The clouds were right, the timing was right, but alas, not chance. No good picture of that fabulous neon against majestic background.

Three items for Thursday
Swiped this bit from .

10 years ago...
I had a trusty PowerBook, and I was busy bouncing from town to town, mostly Central,
, and Far West Texas, doing astrology readings.
I lived in Austin. East Austin.
I hiked the trail, weather permitting, averaged 4 miles.
Dating, a Libra, then Gemini, and was soon to meet a Sagittarius who changed my life.
An AOL content provider hired me to use my
on AOL.

5 years ago....
I had a trusty PowerBook, and I was busy doing astrology readings, bouncing from town to town, mostly in Texas.
I lived in Shady Acres, and that reminds me, I still need to pay last month's rent.
I hiked the trail, weather permitting, averaged 6 to 8 miles.
Dating a Virgo, which reminds me, I need to explain why it's bad to try date a Virgo in Dallas, and Virgo in Ft. Worth at the same time.
I was writing my own
, ghost-writing two other columns (short-lived), and I'd been doing an almost daily update to a for several years. Mostly sold to AOL, but also a couple of newspapers and one software project.

1 year ago....
I had a trusty PowerBook, and I was busy doing
, mostly in . Plus a lot more national and international phone consultations.
I lived in Shady Acres (damn landlord).
I hiked the trail, weather permitting, pretty near daily, and fished along the way. Plus I was swimming in Barton Creek, almost daily. Averaged 5 miles.
Dating? Aries? Virgo? Libra? Taurus? Leo? Gemini? Sagittarius? No, I think I'd adopted the monk-like lifestyle by then.
I was writing
and . Just running this little website, not much else.

Voyage of discovery?
That's what it's like. Setting off for unknown places and destinations.

I typed that line, then started to look at the horoscopes I was working on, and I completely forgot the dream, and how I was going incoproate that in the scopes. Still, it's good to feel like I finally had a handle on something to call the process. Meanwhile, back at the ranch (part one):
Eat What You Want - I think I need this text. For research, of course. Meanwhile, back at the ranch (part two): Scared yet? When I was in the airport last weekend, I meant to snag a paper copy of this , but some how managed to avoid it. Or miss it. Didn't get around to the online version until later. Then it was another one of those stupid "subscribe to see the whole thing" deals. Wait a minute, that's the way my place is. I approve of that kind of business. Now I've got to find the June version of the magazine on the rack some place.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (part three):
about, how's this? Gaining public trust by starting a web log? They'll never salute at that. Meanwhile, back at the ranch (part four): I got treated to sushi for dinner, and as we were leaving, I couldn't help but notice that the "fresh fish" on display looked an awful lot like the basic Large Mouth Bass. They woldn't really serve that, would they? Fish are my friends. Meanwhile, back at the ranch (part five):

create your own visited states map (It's an old exercise, I just plugged it in here for some reason, I think I got it all.) And furthermore: Playing with that map last night, the other night, got me thinking. I was going to do a second version, and on a whim, just list places I'd lived instead of noting that I'd hit most of the states during travel. But places I've actually lived, as in for more than two or three months?

That's simple, Texas, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Texas. In that order. Had to do with school, work, and all that noise.

Now the tangent, what got me off on this direction, I could remember, like my father, playing with a US map when I was but a lad, and I knew, at least, I have this clerar recollection, of me looking at a map of the US, and I knew I was headed "out west" for a spell. Didn't know when, how or why, I did take a few detours, but I did land in both NM and AZ, off and on, for most near a decade.

But "ex-pat" Texans aren't really too welcome in the far east (US East Coast), nor are they always welcomed on the Left Coast, despite what Sister says. Oh well, I'm comfortable right where I'm at.

One of my neighbors was chatting with me while I was fishing. He asked about Blanco, as a place to live. "Good BBQ out there," I allowed, "good day trip." Same for just about anyplace. I do enjoy the Left coast, especially the Bay Area, thanks to Sister. But as far as place to live?

I can walk to downtown, I'm 30 feet from the edge of the river, a short hike to Barton Springs, all the Tex-Mex a feller could ever want, plus a smattering of high-tech, low-tech and even sushi (that looked suspiciously like Large Mouth Bass), all right where I am.

Me? I don't get it. why keep shifting, moving, traipsing back and forth? I like it fine where I'm at.

My neighbor shook his head. He allowed as how I seemed to be happy with what I've got. Isn't that the secret?

Two-meat platter
Or a two-shower day?

Had to muster out early for a quick reading, earlier than I'm used to. I was still dragging from travel, it's not like a 20-minute flight can really induce jet-lag, but that's my excuse. But I got after it, and after we wrapped the reading, I wandered off to drink coffee, fetch the mail, buy a little bait, and think about the mysteries of life.

Invariably, it's the oddest of place that enlightenment occurs, like, for a brief, shining moment, under occasional clouds, sitting there, gnawing on a pork rib. Or swimming in the creek's cold water. Just amazing, sometimes. Taurus, BBQ, all the world made sense (it was a Taurus & Taurus relationship, how's that?)

I was expecting a reading around 7 PM, phone deal, and I called to confirm. Had to cancel. Or rather, switch to a different date. Which just means, I didn't have to move from the river's edge.

I'd showered before the morning reading, really just washing off left-over "road" grime, and then, after I got back from a swimming and BBQ, and fishing, I just took a second shower. I'm not normally so fastidious, but it just worked out. Seems like summer is fast-arriving.

There were actually, two fish in the afternoon sun, and I have two witnesses for the one that got away. Big ole feller, too. But what really happened? I'll save that for a because it's just such an excellent example. Or, a few people will hear about my tale, remember, this isn't a fish tale, I have witnesses, about the one who got away. Hey, it wouldn't be any fun if the fish don't win on some occasions, right?

imageCherchez les poisson: He was in about 7 or 8 feet of water, conditions were a little murky, and it was a small worm. Much earlier in the day, someone asked me what I was going to do, that, "If you could do anything, what do you really want to do this afternoon" kind of a question.

Fish some. Maybe catch a little bass.

I'd prefer a big bass, but that little feller was good by me. Nice fight, clean hook-set, and then, just as I was getting the hook out of his mouth, and letting him free, the hook punched a tiny hole in the ball of my finger. So there was blood, but it wasn't fish blood. and it wasn't the fish's fault, so I couldn't blame him. Fish are friends, not food. 5/10
Nap time Nap time: I always imagine my Sister, even at her age, like a little child, "But I'm not tired yet," as her eyes droop shut.

There's that analytical element that runs through the family as well, the immediate family, and then there's the previously alluded to nap element.

Pa Wetzel, as he's advanced in the years, found himself getting very tired. His doctor told him to take a nap, one in the morning, one on the afternoon. Prescribed it, even. So in his case, it was doctor ordered. I just figure, the doctor was applying common sense to situation that Pa Wetzel saw differently. But it was suggested by the doctor.

Ma Wetzel, as enumerated by Sister, time and again, will frequently check out while reading the paper. Sister's favorite story is about a recent Xmas encounter, "Mom was asleep under the paper, she woke up, asked if we needed her for anything, then went back to her reading. With her eyes closed." Sunday afternoon, Ma Wetzel dozed under the Sunday paper. How appropriate.

There are time when I feel like I'm the most rational member of the family. When I take a nap, I do so because I'm tired, or just because I desire a little rest. No excuses.

"But I'm not tired!"

Afterwards: She woke up, and Sister was regaling us with tales from the adventuresome life of being a (temporary) residency at a UC school, resident artist at some Left Coast Theater, and, best of all, the Divorce Monologues. It's a works in progress, "and then I was fitting this diaphragm," I guess you had to be there.

So, in the San Francisco opera, "See, there's these puppets, and they tell the whole plot, and I'll have the part of the puppet."

Or, as more plot was revealed, I liked the part where she was talking about this character finding himself in bed with an animated skeleton. Scorpio tales: about understanding Modern Art: "To be a good Christian, you have to be a good Jew."

"So you have to be a good Christian to understand Modern Art?" Sister asked.

"No, that's not the syllogism, to be a good Christian, you have to be a good Jew. To understand modern art, you have to understand the old masters."

Sister continued, "So to reiterate, you have to be a good Christian to understand modern art?"

"No," Ma Wetzel continued, and looked at me typing away, "eeww! I'm going to write to the people who publish this stuff!"

Kramer Wetzel
P.O. Box 684516
Austin, TX 78768

Sister's address is someplace on her website. Unrelated goodies:
Walls & Family
How does that lyric go? it's off that
Jimmy Buffett album, the confused album, "Am I rock, pop or country?"

"The walls that won't come down, we can decorate or climb," (I don't recall and I don't have access to the music at the moment - Scarlet Begonias is on the same album.) Overheard: (I think this was staged)
"Are children ever so much more pleasant as adults, but they're ever so much more bossy."

Just my sister, I'm more easy-going. I'm all for decorating those walls we can't climb.

Some ways are a so backwards.
Sunday morning, I found a comic strip I liked.

So I ran into the back bedroom, snagged a pair of scissors off the table, walked back with the scissor (no running with scissors), and clipped the strip out of the paper.

I'm thinking, that was a lot of work. Lots of exercise for what takes about 10 seconds of typing to cut and paste the , post the link and move on the next topic/issue/amusement. Plus ca change? (Plus cut change - the more that changes, the more that remains the same.)

Mom's Day, '05
Just the pictures.

image image

image image

image image

image image

Misc. images
Just the odd bits.




Happy Mother's Day - one more, for the road.
One more GD allusion, "What a long, strange trip it's been."

Or, like the T-shirt, the other night? It said it perfectly well, "In Dallas, it's called sushi, in Ft. Worth, it's called bait."

I walked in the parents' bungalow, and Pa Wetzel was addressing Ma Wetzel, who was stretched out in a yoga position, that, to me looks like a position called "the nap."

"Some one is here to see you," he said.

She mumbled something about being on the ground, and finally looked up.

Much happiness all around.

Rhetorical question, food? Why does it always revolve around food? Anyway, after I ate, I made up an excuse to leave.

I wandered off into the cool night's air, purportedly to hit the big Bass Pro Shop, but really? I was supposed to (secretly) fetch up Sister from the big airport.

However, before departing, no, I'm not making this up, "Kramer I really would feel better if you found something you liked at the Bass Pro shop."

Scorpio mom.

Sister got in, and oddly enough, I did allow enough time to run by the fishing store and get some new plastic worms. Plus some items that will either be good for fishing, or maybe, good as earrings.

I did get lost at the airport. I allowed enough time, so it wasn't, like, a big deal. But I did get lost. Un-lost myself, grabbed Sister, made the trip back to the bungalow,


"If you go now, I'll take a bath and put on my pajamas." (Sister to Ma.)

"I don't want to take a bath now, you're both here."

Some things just never change.

Just in time for Mother's Day!
What amused me, a certain bass fishing affiliate sent me a link. With that title. Right, like I'm about to go to the fishing shop to find something for Mother's Day. Some folks are just narrow-minded.

imageReminds me of an exchange from years , "No Kramer, you cannot go to the Bass Pro Shop for Mother's Day."

I'm sure my own dear sweet Scorpio mother wold love a new "all-electric" trolling motor - to match her "all-electric (hybrid)" car. No, really, I'm sure of it.

Off to the airport for the 20 minute trip to Big D. I called ahead of time, and I was told that it wasn't going to be a problem carrying on a little mother's day gift. I'll see if that's really true.

I had a couple of last-minute items to take care of, on Friday. Plus, I was trying to work in a few extra readings and such. I'd dash outside, catch a fish, dash back in, catch the phone, dash out and catch a fish, dash in and catch the phone.

What bothered me about the pictures was that fish were really larger than that, or so it seemed at the time. I wouldn't take pictures of small fish, I was thinking those were definite keepers, for panfish. Except, well, I wasn't going to keep them. Some things in life don't translate well from one medium to another, like from fishing line to digital image.

"Jerry! Final thoughts? (1)

imageThat was weird. Earlier in the week, I ran into an old client. Or friend. Or both, and we enjoyed a casual conversation out under the trees while her tiny male-child (Virgo children are so good) frolicked about.

We touched on the fact that there's some "weird energy" floating around. How weird? Relationships in turmoil, folks having problems, just, well, for lack of better words, weird.

In part, this has been touched off by a comment and missive from another friend, a real professional "psychic reader and healer," and I was wondering why I wasn't getting any of it.

The battery died in the voice mail alert system, and I went a day, well, I'd been fishing, and I forgot to replace the battery. No big deal. When I got around to checking the voice mail, though, the box was full of folks who all wanted readings, and then there was one more.

First ex-wife. Drawling, had been looking at my pictures on the , I guess.

Just a very strange encounter, strictly a short e-mail, and a quick voice mail, although, in my sick and twisted mind, I found a certain darkly comic element. I toyed with uploading the voice mail, but at 3 AM, I couldn't get the computer telephone parts to talk to each other.

I did eventually, when my brain was more clear, respond in a nice manner. I hope. I just noted that I'm only about two months behind on the rent for the trailer, and the landlord only has to threaten once, I spend an inordinate amount of time fishing, and I really do live like a monk. I like
. I guess that hasn't changed from way back when.

(1) Jerry Springer,
the Opera.

All Dell
Just a quick link to a long read, and it's not really a blog I can endorse too much, other than being an occasional Mac-head myself, I mean, I flip through it from time to time, but it's usually a little too close to marketing for my tastes. Too biased?

That cleared up, I mean, the blog itself is a "for profit" venture, I did rather enjoy of buying online. From the Roundrock headquarters, no doubt.

(A certain percentage of the local population is employed, directly or indirectly, by that company located in Roundrock, TX.)

The other point, not really related? I openly admire the way they do business. Always makes a buck. But wait there's more! Scanning down a little further led to one item that led to another that led to

Friday's Four
Just a collection - an odd number.

One: From the too much time on my hands
The number of the beast? Needs to be readjusted. Two: From the Texas: the University files:
(And I really can't see how I missed this in the local media, there again, maybe it's a reporting problem.)
The Smoking Gun archive.

Three: Thursday - Saturday special: has yet to be equaled this year, so I'm thinking, just for next year's version, calling it something different. I was standing in line at Sandy's, in the middle of the afternoon, and the variations on the theme just kept coming to me. I'd run into a neighbor, too, and he wasn't aware of the days that special, or why.

Four: Surprise Ma Wetzel (travel):
So I'm off to Dallas on Saturday, as a Mother's Day surprise visit, including Sister winging in from the left coast. Our little visit is only geogrpahically linked to TFG's post, and his summary of his little woman's post was rather eloquent.

Cherchez les poissons: Two really small ones then this guy, a little more rambunctious.


Yesterday morning, after a short and restful night's sleep, while I was still just waking up, certain images danced through my brain. The cat's butt was snuggled up against me, she opened one rheumy eye, meowed in distaste that I was disturbing her, and she suggested I shut up and go back to sleep. Or fix her breakfast.

The muse was stirring me awake. Nice to have something charge me. And what did the muse want to ?

I hobbled off, a little earlier than usual, with a sinking suspicion that something wasn't right. Halfway between here and there, and I realized that I had a beeper, pocketknife, wallet, the charts I was supposed to read, a pen, everything but the damn cell phone. Which was one reason I felt incomplete. Plus the client and I missed connections. They left two messages my cell. Which I couldn't do anything about.

While I was patiently waiting in one spot, missing calls, I perused the morning paper. Front page, above the fold? An article straight out of the realm of fiction, about case that a cop solved with a DNA test, a "widow" wasn't really a widow as she and her husband faked his death, then hoped to claim the insurance money and start a new life in Florida. But a cop who noted certain irregularities, like the burned body didn't have the right DNA, no skid marks, lighter fluid, and so on. I never did finish the article, but that was some mighty fine tabloid-style journalism.

At the top of the business section, there was bit about a new store that markets to women over 35. Which is another issue I tend not to have a clue about, but I do know that women over 35 are for more desirable than those under 35. (The fact that this rated an article amazes me. The way most males miss the clues amazes me. The women over 35? They have a life, usually kids, better looking, more self-assured, know themselves, better sense of style, more gracious, and when I say stupid things? They just laugh it off.)

Awards and recognition:
I saw that on one site, the "awards and recognition" page and various posts. Well, no awards here.

At the movies:
I slid downtown to catch an early evening show, only to find out that it was sold out. Then, while I was fetching an early evening espresso, my phone buzzed.

"Hello darling," I said, after I looked at the number.

"Hey, is there a Shakespeare movie starring Anthony Hopkins?"

No, "How are you," no "What's up," just a Shakespeare trivia question.

I closed my eyes. The little Gemini with the shot of espresso took my money. I slipped a dollar in her jar. I was wearing a "heavy metal" t-shirt, the irony was lost on all (Gotterdamrung, done in the finest gothic print. Heavy metal, get it? Oh never mind, the irony is still lost on too many these days.)

"Titus," I said, "movie version of Titus Andronicus, arguably one of Shakespeare's worst. Early play, I think, like 1590 or so, and Shakespeare was trying to outdo Marlow's blood."

So straight up, from memory, since it plagued me the rest of the evening? I may have the facts wrong, but I think there's a kid-pie. Not kidney pie, but a face in the pie, so that's cannibalism, and there's this rape, and to keep her from talking, they cut her tongue out, and to keep her from fulfilling the myth of Philomel (I could have the myth/name/scene/plot all wrong), they cut her hands off, too. Then there's an Amazon warrior princess, yeah, they cut off one breast for bow hunting. Or something.

I know I've seen parts of it, maybe all of the movie, but I don't recall much. I do know, I've read the play, and the gore was just awful. I did like the staging in the movie, though, and the art direction was outstanding. But it's a bloody play.

I do recall that Anthony Hopkins, this was after "Silence of the Lambs," could've done anything, but his real skill as an actor was apparent in that movie. I think, again, facts may off on this, but I think he had some classical training - there's nothing like trying to bounce through some of the Bard's work makes that kind of training more apparent.

I kept amusing myself, "The silence of the Philomena." Yeah, all about right - bloody awful.

This is bad.
A tech headline news item. Whatever shall I do? Fight for the name?

Wildlife images
Got two, actually taken a few weeks ago, but the images are pretty good, at least to me. Bedding bass.


The first image (click for close-up) is a little male guarding nest, along the shoreline. The close up is a slightly tweaked image, showing him hard at work, guarding.

It's that genetic imperative. Got to love Mother Nature. Right in the heart of Austin.

Two-meat platter
It was funny, to me, as I was working on a project for a devout Jewish client, I was sitting there, thinking about pork ribs. The little joke didn't work, about how the good lord obviously loves us because she created such goodness in the world, like BBQ pork ribs.

Isn't working, but it's not the first time I've had a joke fail miserably, all the way around. Genetic predisposition to bad humor. Goes with the turf.

Bad humor fits well with the current "working project." With an up and coming new moon in Taurus, launching Gemini and all of that, I've got to get back to work on getting "the book" on Amazon. No easy task.

What I've played with, basically, is that there will be two editions. The older one, that first run, then a second one, an Amazon edition Same basic text, but the Amazon edition needs to be priced in the astronomical range so it can be discounted to the normal range. My ideal price would be $9.95. However, with "Print-On-Demand" technology, the pricing runs a little higher.

I worked, toyed with it, set up some other work, and then wandered off into the afternoon. I kept running into friendly faces.

I think I'll just play instead. Way unrelated to anything: I don't know, I clicked and clicked, and I came across this site. Hint: I'm on meager broadband, here in the trailer, so it loads at a decent pace, but it's terribly graphic heavy. All images, in fact. Weird stuff. Random. Of course, I've been to Amarillo, so this one isn't so weird, not to me. But it's nothing more than a personal web site, from my cursory glance. Cool visual look, but just images.

Cool, nonetheless.

I was intrigued, but then I thought about the amount of time that went into a site like that. Rather "labor intensive," or so it would seem. All that image manipulation, then the upload time, and links, and all the technical back-end work. For a personal website. It won an award, but the award doesn't come with a round-trip ticket, plus expenses. At least, that's the impression I got. Just as a stupid sidebar note, I wonder what a weekend in NYC costs, especially for a lost soul from the plains of West Texas?

But he did have a clever bit attached, too, a PDF form that was a simple eight by ten piece of paper with his name and address, and a plea to send him a dollar. I might try that gig. I found that clever, and I'm not at all above stealing a good idea.

There was one more rather clever portion, the online journal. It was an image of a handwritten journal. The image was then mapped and the "more" text and arrow was the "more" button. Still clever, and intriguing in a way the web hasn't been lately.

But could I ever move over to such a graphic-heavy interface? After I spent years trimming the front page down to a bare minimum, weighing in under 10K in size? Got to keep it fast for us lame-DSL folks. Or dial-up. I understand some folks still use a modem.

More images.
Just pictures, some old some new. What I was thinking about when I suggested a picture gallery.


image image image

Short memory
(And yes, the RSS feed thing should be working before too long, I'm twiddling with code.)

There were two "free" web log portals that have succumbed to economic duress. But the memory of the user public seems a little limited. Pre-Google days, Blogger crashed and burned a few times. Flicker seems to have outage problems, too, and nothing gets the little net-heads in an uproar faster than to have to a sever stop serving. Not much room to bitch, though, not from a free service.

My own Sister went through this one time when her own start page wouldn't load, and she had all the little tickers set to tick out whatever information she wanted ticked out, and when it didn't tick out, she was ticked off.

"Can't you fix it?"

Personally, I steer away from free services. Too many ads. Not guarantee on privacy. Or, as a closet control freak, no control over what happens. And if an "act of god" occurs? One word: screwed.

Doesn't much matter to me, either way. Except. See, and that's the whole point, I've got a number of images, like yesterday'dog sign, that I'd like to experiment with.

I've got an all-time favorite splash image I think I'd like to run, but then again, maybe I'd like some other image. Or a series of rotating images. Again, no way to do handle this.

To be sure, I've got rented server space and bandwidth to cover it all, but no place in the "top down" organization chart for such visual tidbits. Sometimes, like that "beware of dog" sign, I'm not sure that the humor really gets across. Or the whole image of "Stardust Motel" since it was the last piece standing on a nearly-abandoned highway, just a little west of Marfa, Texas. Like, in the middle of nowhere. Real West Texas (not the Hollywood version of the West, either.)

Then there's the other solution, too. Instead of a link to an external site for storing images, why not just post them in the web journal? doesn't get the exposure that I was looking for, but near as I can tell, and from the places I look at on the web, I'd tend to agree with the net-heads, I don't usually like a splash page unless it has valid and current information. Or gives simple list of choices without too much graphic flash confusing the issue. Besides, I'm basically a text guy. Nothing more.

Old fashioned, isn't it?

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe
I can blame a Scorpio lad. He got me hooked on the Hitchhiker's Guide series, way back when.

I've toted the series, in fact, most of Douglas Adam's books, with me, and I've always intended to reread the series. Since the movie opened, I thought I'd dip back into the books, or, at least, the first one, and see what all the fuss was about. All I remember was liking it.

It's a little thin on plot, a little heavy on fantasy, and basically silly. But buried in that silliness, Hitchhiker's Guide - the movie. there were some astute observations, if I recall.

Like, Ford Prefect's observations about humanity?

"At first Ford formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings didn't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months' consideration, he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working." (page 49)

An observation wherein fiction is better than fact? That seems to be one that I've remembered. And employed.

The Scorpio lad who hooked me on this material, to begin with, he liked the TV show, and all its subsequent variations, usually on PBS, Brit humor. Me? I just liked the books. My buddy's nickname for me, though, afterwards? Zaphod.

"There would be no point in asking Zaphod, he never appeared to have a reason for anything he did at all: he had turned unfathomability into an art form. He attacked everything in life with with a mixture of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence. and it was often difficult to tell which was which." (page 110)

(Who are we kidding? I earned that name for other similarities.)

Feeds and so forth.
Tech issues. Yeah, and fish.
So it's Monday morning, and I was thinking about addressing the feeds issue, hooking up the RSS and so forth, because, it works, I just don't have the right switch flipped some place.

I went down to the lake to check on the spawning buddies, ran back, fetched up a crawdad looking thing. Teased but didn't get a bite. I switched to a cotton-candy worm, and there was a hit.

As I transfered the picture to the computer, I found another picture, left over from Sunday.

Two-fer-one on Monday's images?

image image

Psychic Sunday
Went to the sweet "Casa de Pisces," had us some brunch, then I wound up in a very comfortable setting, the kitchen table. So I sat there and flipped up tarot cards all afternoon while everyone else got to enjoy a few franks on the grill, and some truly evil "pumpkin dip," which, in all honesty, I think was nothing more than pumpkin pie, just without the shell. Good stuff.

Wandered on home, and with undue urging, followed a suggesting and wet a line.

Nice little Black Bass to end the day.

Eeyore's and more
In the spring,in Austin, while I'm concerned with bass spawning, Eeyore'e Birthday Party, Pecan Street Fair, my psychic brunch and whatever else was going on.

"What's on at the Alamo?"

After winding through the streets of Austin, looking at the dust collectors and having more "festival food" than is probably healthy, the first show Saturday evening at the Alamo Drafthouse (the original) was a piece that was some kind of a take-off of some TV program I've never seen. Nor am I likely to waste too much time trying to get the references to a TV program called "The Apprentice." I thought it was either sitcom or some kind of drama series.

So after paying full admission, the Aquarius manger came back, sought us out to return our dollars. This was to be a free movie. Or thing. Or event.

Call it what you want, it was both fun and, in a weird way, instructive.

The Alamo manager had two "teams" from the University where each team planned and executed an Alamo Event. The winning team got half the profit, and the losing team was supposed to do the dishes.

They filmed it all, the meetings, the teams doing strategy and planning, and all the material that went with it. One team drank. A lot. The other team had a better strategy, plan and implementation, but the drinking team won.

Oddly enough, I'd heard about both of the events, probably through the usual circles, one was a "South Park" sing-a-long, and the other was a Comedy documentary film plus the comics themselves live.

The drinking team won, but not without some underhanded tactics. Like handing out free food right before the other team's event (part of the profit was to be whatver the gross sales were for food & beverage).

As we were leaving, at the end of the show, I had to ask that darling Aquarius, "Like, we're the only folks here who didn't have anything to do with this, right?"


Little, independent businesses with a quirky side? Local places that are "like no other"? That's why. Oddities. Weirdness. And even though I wasn't even remotely involved with any of the material, I rather enjoyed it. A lot. Even though, I might have been the only outsider there.


Spurious and unrelated material
I'm not sure how any of this fits together. But then, I'm never sure how any of this fits together. On the desktop of my computer, I've got a leftover picture of painting (and subsequent shrine) of a certain Tejano superstar.

This image isn't even from Austin. It's not from here, it's from elsewhere (obviously in Texas, though). And what this has to do with anything?

"I ain't often right but I've never been wrong, seldom turns out like the way it does in the song." (Scarlet Begonias) Bubba was by, and I had a couple of copies of my book, , out on the table. I'd paid for a few more copies because I had destinations for them, like a local bookstore, and the next few events I'm working. He picked it up and then demurred when I offered him a copy to read, as long as he brought it back. No more distractions was his general idea.

Horoscopes are getting out of control again; that's a problem. Starting to get a little longer than I reckon they ought to be. Happens from time to time.

Absolutely amazing event at the Alamo downtown, early Saturday evening. But more on that when I get a chance. Amazing.

Cherchez les poisson!
(I got to figure out how to say "fish on," like, in Latin or something.)
It's time for a nature lesson: (not interested? Don't click.)

The world, in my not-so-humble-opinion, wold be a better place if we emulated our fish friends. I was noticing some small fry in the water, guessing that the spawn had moved up here, or something, so I guess that makes these fish Taurus.

"Who'd a thunk it?"

For all their fight, I've pegged most bass as Aries. And, for that matter, several weeks ago, I could see the dudes guarding a nest in East Austin. But here at Shady Acres?

Right in front of the boat dock. Two boys. Dudes. Punk-ass fish. Actually, they were doing their genetic duty, much to their chagrin and my amusement.

So, I was fishing for panfish, not doing very good, not even any interest when I noticed, in the lake's clear water, two of my boys, guarding a nest.

Bass Biology, introduction: Unlike any other place in Nature, as far as I can recall, the black bass >b>male plays an integral role in the upbringing of babies.

The males clear a nest, mate and fertilize the eggs, and then guard the nest. No post-coital nap for the guys, none at all. Plus, the hatchlings are protected by the males for up to two days after birth. During this time, the guys don't eat.

But they will fiercely guard the nest. I learned a trick from another fisherman of some renown, pink worms. I'm guessing that the boy bass don't like the pink worms, offends their manhood or something. Or maybe it just pisses them off.


Think what a nicer place the world would be if the males did all the hard work from fertilization to protection to even raising them young uns?

There are two guarding this nest, right in front of the dock. I got the little one, but the bigger one will probably take all weekend. He's a wily old coot, and I think, from the way he eyeballs me, we've tangled before.

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Pride Of Cucamonga
(Grateful Dead allusion)

Lyrics: Bobby Petersen
Music: Phil Lesh

"Out on the edge of the empty highway
Howling at the blood on the moon
Big diesel Mack rolling down my way
Can't hit that border too soon"

(Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel)

I've got to use that someplace. That song's been trailing me for years. I finally found a used CD with an intact cover - and there were no new CDs to be had. But the cover art isn't nearly as good, not shot down in size for a jewel case.

But the music?

Now, if I can only figure out what they mean by the opening lines to "Unbroken Chain."

"Looking for familiar faces/In an empty window-pane."

Guess I'm not old enough to understand the "hippie jam bands." Huh.

The musical references get back to another point, and I'm trying to figure out how to work that into work. It's the point where a band tours in order to "support" a recent release. In personal consultations, I call it the "punk tour," after a really good article in some magazine. The writer toured with an "up and coming" band. Wasn't really all that , ahem, joyful. The open road ain't always the greatest.

When I was researching (means I plugged it into a search engine) this album, in the myriad of Grateful Dead links, I stumbled across one bit of purple prose, which suggested the 1974 Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel was the best of the Dead's studio albums, produced at a time when the music was at its creative peak. No wonder I like it.

Perfect days.
Some days are just like that.

[style=floatpicleft> image [/style>Wrote for a spell, got a bit of work out of the way, plus I corrected two typos that crept through the screening process, and then I had a plea for an emergency reading, real fast like, which, seeing as how I wasn't too busy, I could get to, right after I hiked around for a bit (5 miles), dunked in the creek (68 degrees), and then, after a little coffee, I was ready.

Later, Bubba Sean popped by for a Sandy's run. Thursday - Saturday special. Enumerated many times over.

In between, someplace or other, there's got to be a fish, right? Cherchez le poisson?

I plucked a favored text off the shelf, and I literally, had to blow the dust off it. Time to reread Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, just because, just because I'm a purist? Late (great) Douglas Adams, Pisces, Mac-head, author.... I don't know about the radio or TV bits - I just read the books.

And there's one more hot waste of time, FatBoy Slim Joker Video

Ever have one of those days?
It's like I have nothing to say. Except...

I heard a couple of interesting tidbits today. Thing I'll run them up in a horoscope someplace.

All right, I got feeling guilty about that, the "nothing to say" bit as I did have a few items that crossed my path. Not much, but a each little item - a great number of them got used up in scopes, but each little item has a place.

I've got a set number of words that I have to write, in a given day. I can't let myself get distracted without pounding out a certain amount amount of words. That's the secret to happiness. I tend to be obsessive, too. Writing time is like hallowed time. Sacrosanct. Holy. And having a muse like that, a drive, it can be a bitch, "Cherchez la femme," I believe, is the remark. "Cherchez le poisson" might be a better term these days. Writing about the process of writing is dangerous. I'm always afraid if I quantify the magic, it will fail to happen. Talk about something too much, and it goes away, right?

It's simple, though, the way it was passed down to me, from a noted author, there's a certain amount of words that have to pounded out before I can do anything else. No phone, no e-mail, feed the cat, but other than making sure the mistress is properly sustained in her regal manner, there's not a lot that can happen before the word count is reached.

Some days, it just flows. Some days, I'm in the pocket and the tempo of the keyboard, the music of the spheres, maybe my planets are aligned or something, some days, it just happens really fast. Nice and easy. Like riding a bicycle, but I can't even recall the last time I sat on a bicycle. Last time I was on a motorcycle was within the last year. Once around the block. I'll guess it's like riding a bicycle, but there's a reason why I don't ride any more (astrological reason: prone to head injuries, no sense in tempting fate again, or poor drivers).

The way it was expressed to me, if one is to be serious about writing, then one will write four pages of manuscript-format documents each and every morning. Typed. Four pages, typed. Simple exercise.

When times are tough, and I'll allow that sometimes the planets don't agree with me, like leftover food that's been in the icebox too long, it take a lot of effort to get to that point, the four pages of manuscript. This is where computers and word processors are so wonderful. Average manuscript-formated page hold about 250 words. Four pages? 1,000 words.

Now consider the length of the horoscopes. The average column I'm turning in each week weighs in at roughly 2,500 words. Some place between 2,400 and up to 3,000 words. Usually not that high, but close on some occasions.

So that's two or three "writing days" to get a column done. Plus proof-reading, Plus copy editing. Occasionally, fact-checking. Coding. Uploading. Lot of support to make the magic happen.

But the trick is to avoid all that, don't think about it, and work. Hallowed time. Got to finish the manuscript pages first.

I banged out a whole a column on Tuesday. Plus a long post here. Good day. Fresh material from the weekend. Plus leftovers. Good fuel. Wednesday? It was back to the same thing, a little bit more of a grind.

A total of three cups of coffee, a few distractions, and I met the self-imposed deadline

The rhythm and tempo? It's still there, but the muse is moving a little slower today. It's okay, doesn't take much, a long weekend of work will bring me a whole boatload of new material. Fresh again.

Two-meat Tuesday
What's in my purse?

The term I read was "murse," not purse. For man-purse. Or, as I've heard it before, "man-bag." I'd love to carry one. I think it would be great. The problem is, and I've got a number of bags that would work, the singular problem is, I can't be bothered. Closest I've gotten to really carrying a purse is about once or twice a year, when I'm working, and I need something to carry a large tarot deck - a show deck. After much trial and error, I did finally settle on just one shoulder bag kind of a thing, and I had an aunt who used to carry an identical bag, but for her it really was a purse.

Made by Sun Dog, a company that used to specialize in outdoor gear for the photographer set, they seemed to have branched out some. But I've gotten to the point that I either clip it to my belt, the stuff, or I toss the stuff into a pocket of cargo shorts I'm wearing. Or sports coat, for those rare days when it's cool outside. About the only time I carry purse is for work, like this coming weekend.

I suppose, that a laptop carry bag, might, to some, appear purse-like, but that's a different issue.

I was writing about culinary matters, working on a scope, and I only covered three food groups: fried, BBQ, and Tex-Mex. The only problem is I'm beginning to feel that I've become too Texican. As if there was no other kind of cuisine that mattered. Come to think of it, there really isn't. I'm turning into a narrow-minded person. I understand that there are other types of food, but do they really matter? Hey, don't like it? Don't read about it.

Not worrisome: I was idly listening to my neighbors. One was going on and on about a perceived problem with management at the ole trailer park. The maintenance guy was doing this, or wasn't doing that, or whatever. After listening for a while, another neighbor chimed in, "Someone ought to write about this place, it would be a good series or something."

"Yeah, someone who writes a lot ought to do just do that," I chimed in. Unrelated:
This one was funny.

Cussing notes:
Missed it the first time due to work, looks like there's a second swing through Texas for the Hank III tour. From Cain's in Tulsa to the Ridgelea in Ft. Worth, I think I've been most of those places. Including Dos Amigos in Odessa. Too bad it's still a work weekend for me, or I'd be on the road someplace to see a show.

Everyone of those rooms are perfect for that show - assuming it's the two-show set-up as in the past.

Unrelated: toolbox.
Tools used in the production end of things:
1. Apple Safari web browser.
2. Apple iWork word processor.
3. pMachine's Expression Engine.
4. Fatcow (dot com) web-site hosting.

Hot Day-hum.
Found it again.

Cherechez le poisson: [style=alignpicleft>image[/style>A neighbor (Aries) was rowing his kayak. Canoe. Whatever. As he got closer to the dock, I reeled in my line a little and pulled this guy up from around the pilings. I mean, I knew he was there, the fish, but I was hoping for something a little more interesting. However, fish is fish. new neighbor. He claimed he was imnpressed but demurred on fresh sushi for dinner. Swing Time:
Finally found a notation from Wayne Hancock's mouth to the reporter's story about Flatland Boogie, which, in context, makes it even better. Some times, the back story can improve a song, "Written on 87 north-bound."

What was weird? As I passed one place downtown? The song "Hoy-hoy-hoy" was on the outdoor speaker.

Coincidence? I think so.

Food in Austin
The Paletera (Congress & Riverside, SE Corner)

I had to run by the bank, to check on something, and while I was at the corner, I noticed a new place. To me, the term "paleta" brings to mind young hispanic males wheeling little carts around with the subtle tinkle of bells, it's like, ah, how to put this delicately without offending anyone?

Screw that, I'm offensive. It's a Mexican treat, a delicacy in the form of frozen goodness on a hot day. The flavors are amazing, and buying from the little guys with the little carts, the pedestrian vendors, I know that I'm supporting an independent business person. It usually costs less than two bucks, and apparently, it's a big business for some folks. As I understand itl, and my memories of Mexico are little fractured so I might not be remembering it right,m but those "paletas" are a direct import, at least the idea is. Plus the main lettering ont he side of the carts, even here, most of it is in Spanish.

So, I wandered into the "La Paletera." The first clue that there were problems? White guys. Two of them. Working.

Another preconceived notion shattered. Way it goes some days.

There was another let-down, too, as I glanced at the bewildering menu. Fruit. Fresh fruit. Sure, there were "aquas fresca," and some kind of ice cream, and eventually, I found the ice cream bars, like the vendors sell, in a freezer space for customer access, but still.

At first, I asked for a special rice drink, "Horchata," but alas, they were out of that this afternoon. Then, I finally settled on something that promised to be lots of fruit, some yogurt and grains. Sounded good.

It was.


Black is the new black.
Subtitle: Random randomness. TV Turn-off week is here! (I don't even own a TV so I guess I can't play.)

Funny, to me, this tip came in over the net. More useless data?

Link from link to link about one of my favorite (probably a chauvinist pig, but I like some of his books anyway) author's collection going to the local University's Harry Ransom collection. Cool.

Via fredlet: more fish tales.

Better than my playlists?

I was leaning against a tree that sprouts out of the dock, line in water, test bait on test line on a test pole, and I was testing the highly experimental arrangement, purely for the sake of research, not that I had any personal gain in the game, and a neighbor (Virgo) walks by, hurrying off to someplace important, like work, "God, what a life you have, Kramer."

Black is the new black. Heard it here, first.

Road reflections
I was idly chatting, sunday afternoon, with the Leo lass tending to the store's operation.

"Yeah, Kramer, you've got a girl in every port."

Not true. Then came the CC story, done here last year.

"And you look so laid back, but you work hard. On the road a lot."

That much is true.

I've worked a number of venues, from full-blown conventions with press, radio and film, to just one-night stands (afternoons, really) in little "new age" bookstores and "healing centers." It's not the best life, but it's my life, and it works okay. Wished it beough in a little more cash, but that's always a problem, with any business these days. Except, I suppose politics and big corporations. Not like I'm about to get into either of those, either.

It's about doing what I love, and some days are better than others. Or some days, it's just for the fun of the road, rather than making the big bucks. Either way works, at least, nominally.

Part one, two and there.
Starts in Austin, winds up in San Antonio, then back to Austin.

Or not.

I showed up at the bookstore, and there's that usual, "We weren't sure you were going to be here again" problem.

But of course I was.

I'm liking SA more and more as time goes by. Laid back. Relaxed. Cheerful. Full of good Mexican food. Maybe not in my waistline's best interest, but certainly a happy place.

Odd coincidence, two places I've worked in the last year, Dancing Moon in San Antonio, and Heart of the Dove in Las Cruces (NM), both places? They are moving locations. In June. Both places. Weird how that works.

Something I picked up earlier in the day? Maybe a new tag line?

"astrtofish dot net" is a user-supported website. 4/24
Viva Fiesta
I've heard about it for years, I just never realized that it was such a big deal. Fiesta in San Antonio.

What is it, really?

"It's a big drink-a-thon!"

I tried to tie up with any historical or religious holidays, couldn't find much that was significant.

So for a week or ten days, it's party time in San Antonio. If I'm working here next year, I've got schedule around it - way around it.

Night In Old San Antonio is part of it, and I've heard much about this, so I got to go. Not sure I want to repeat the experience, a hot evening in April, surrounded by thousands of people in varying degrees of intoxication and/or heavy inebriation.

Food items. Music was a little weak, but there was this one kid, on an old squeezebox, his teacher pushed him up in front of the crowd, and that kid, eventually, will go places. I hope. It's the guitar solo. Squeezebox style.

Some comment from the stage, about how the accordion was brought over from Germany. Made me think....

image image

Desert Island CD collection
Started when I was messing with playlists, and I realized that some of the good stuff was missed , like Robert Earl Keen's early work. And Jimmy Bufffet's canon, but mostly A1A (&c.) plus his recent album, which has a really good cover of the Dead's Scarlet Begonias.

10. 9. 7. 8. Siegfried, 3rd opera in the cycle, all four CDs. Takes care of all facets of classical music in one sitting, although, a 4-hour opera is a long sitting. Still, it's better story than the more famous Valkryies one. Possibly better music, too.
6. 5. Lyle Lovett's Step Inside this House
4. REK's Live #2 (come on, a song about a 5-pound bass?)
3. The Grateful Dead's Live from the Mars Hotel

One of Buffett's live albums maybe? All the good songs plus some stage banter? Jerry Jeff's Viva Terlingua? ZZ Top, either Tres Hombres, or a greatest hits? And where's Devo fit in? How about Free Bird? Pink Floyd? Instead of just a song, what album from the 80's? Are The Clash essential? Yes? What's missing for the top two spots?


All right, this one is too good to pass up, "You are what's on your playlist." Right. Houston? I think we have a problem here.

I've got a couple of "road lists" I keep around for ubiquitous road CDs that invariably get left behind, like in a rent car or something.

Try this one:
Fistful of Dollars.
If I had a Boat (Lyle Lovett) (and I'd love to find Jimmy Buffet version of that song - heard it live once.)
Gulf Coast Romance (Luke Olson)
Once you clear the jetty (Larry Joe Taylor)
Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan)
Friend of the Devil (Grateful Dead)
Conversation with the Devil (Ray Wylie Hubbard)
7 months 39 days (Hank III)
Punk Rock Girl (Dead Milkmen)
Hellbilly Joker (Hank III bootleg)
The Boys of Summer (The Ataris)
California Uber Alles (The Dead Kennedys)
Live Intro (ZZ Top)
Heard it on the X (ZZ Top)
(Texas Radio and the Big Beat) (The Doors)
Mexican Radio (Wall of Voodoo)
On the Run (Pink Floyd)

That ought to give the "psycho analyst by playlist" folks a head scratcher. As the ad says, "But wait, there's more!" Another list, just a second trial run.

Gilligan's Island Theme
Higher and Higher (Moody Blues)
Hey Boy Hey Girl (The Chemical Brothers)
Don't let the man get you down (Fatboy Slim)
Juke Joint Jumping (Wayne "the train" Hancock)
If the shoe fits (Hank III)
West Texas Highway (Lyle Lovett's amazing cover album)
Call me the Breeze (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Headed South (Larry Joe Taylor w/Steve Fromholz)
Senorita (Los Lonely Boys)
Route 66 (Wayne Hancock)
Runnin' and Gunnin' (Hank III boot)
Cross town Traffic (Jimi Hendrix)
Freebird! (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

In the words of the Dead Milkmen, "Choke on this you ..." (Instant Club Hit)

As an added bonus, to really confuse the analysis? Wagner's Ring Cycle, all four operas.

Then I had an idea: here's one more playlist to figure me out: straight out of Apple's iTunes.

A careful analysis of the genres, content and styles suggest a leaning towards, movie and sitcom scores, protest and rock music from 40 years, and just a touch of honky-tonk plus some post-punk progressions, art rock, and several items that defy categorization, like Lyle Lovett (Texana, really), Larry Joe Taylor (coastal and western), and just a hint of the 80's new wave.

I think that would indicate I'm pretty mentally unstable. COOL!

Taurus, the signs and more about cycles.
Should have a subtitle: When to get an astrology reading that will help.
(It's all about cycles in life.)

At the tail end of 1956, Pluto went into Virgo for a little while. Then, in 1957, Pluto was back in Leo, then forward again into Virgo, playing cat and mouse with Virgo and Leo until 1958 or so, when Pluto finally got himself comfortable in Virgo.

Since Pluto is a relatively slow moving planet, I tend to assign a "generational" significance to it, when looking at a chart. In 1955 and onward, Uranus was in Leo, moving into Virgo in late 1961, for the duration. More or less. I'm not looking up these planet movements in my reference manual, I'm doing this from memory, so I might be a little off.

So the "Pluto in Virgo - Uranus in Leo" grouping is one, and the "Pluto in Virgo - Uranus in Virgo" is another grouping. Plus, there's that note about the 1965-6 grouping, too, a personal favorite.

The first of the big planet cycles occur between ages 28 and 30, a Saturn "return" wherein Saturn completes a full orbit of a chart (and the Sun itself). That's a good place to start, as sensible astrology advice can be useful at that time.

The next cycle is odd, because it usually occurs later in life, but I'm seeing a lot of this earlier, the very late 1960's folks, with Pluto Square Pluto, a time of transition. In the previous generations, that would occur after there was a "Uranus oppose Uranus" (age 42, more on that in the Aquarius notes). The way I like to look at that, the easiest expression for the energy, is that "Uranus oppose Uranus" (age 42 - usually) is like a spiritual awakening. Look at the parental generation, that's when they got series about "going to church." Then, a few years later, that faith gets tested with "Pluto square Pluto." Because Pluto is in such an oblong orbit, think egg-shaped, not round, the test for one's faith, especially with late 1960's people, is occurring earlier, and sometimes before the awakening at (usually) age 42.

Can't say them planets don't have a sense of humor, bordering on black humor, and maybe a little twisted and malicious.

I noticed, almost slipped past me, that the "astrological clock" changed the other day. It's "Taurus Time," in my book. Got me thinking about timing, plus, the recent round of readings got me looking at all this material again.

Late degree Sagittarius Ascendant characters probably need help with Pluto in general - I always suggest getting a reading from someone who's been there before (and understands the way it feels).

Late July Cancer? Early degree Leo (like up to and including August 1? Got a Saturn event occurring, or fixin' to happen, and I'm here to help understand what to do (and what not to do).

First ten degrees of any mutable sign (May Gemini, August Virgo, November Sagittarius, February Pisces) still has a lingering Uranus influence.

1975-7 (any sign - Saturn return)

1967-9 (any sign having a mid-life "challenge") - Pluto square Pluto.

1962-6 (Uranus influence, of a different sort).

1955-61? Actually, what I've found to be most useful here is the dynamics of the individual chart, and how this grouping relates to the other "generations."

The mid 1950's folks are in the midst of an obscure influence that has a lot to do with an asteroid called Chiron. But that's an individual influence, as to how it plays out.

Which is why I do individual readings.

One of the scariest events, to me, is looking at the appointment book, seeing I've got a phone reading penciled in at a certain time, and then, for the life of me, not knowing who is going to be calling. Couldn't remember a thing.

The plans cut short my afternoon walk, but I did get by Sandy's for an afternoon repast.

There was a car in line at the drive-thru, and I had that sickly, "I've seen this before" feeling. I couldn't place it - at first. Older chevy with tinted window, and more than a few whiskey dings. Lots of road rash.

Bubba's old chevy?

No, it wasn't, but it sure looked like it. Which then started a long and meandering sojourn down the dark pathways of the mind, thinking back to 1998....

Glad that's over with.

Weird flashback moment, Sandy's a few years ago. Eating there because we couldn't afford anything else. I remember robbing the laundry quarters to get some dinner money.

While I was out, came across a German couple from Hamburg, lost as could be, and looking for a park. Each of the couple had an Austin map, trying to get their bearings. I pointed them towards the SRV statue, and it was all good.

Despite my name, German is a language barrier for me. I tried Mexican (Spanish with an American accent) and French, to no avail. I'll suppose I'm just another odd duck in their travels.

I would've lapsed into history, as a portion of Texas was settled/colonized by Germans. big German communities, just south of here. But there was that language thing.

They inquired about how close was Killeen, and I suggested it wasn't too far by Texas standards.

Fish pic of the day:


Gear up
I knew there was something I was forgetting: this weekend. Time to gear up.

The in-between stuff, the parts not listed in the schedule include guest at a dinner party (Austin), working at Dancing Moon (San Antonio), and trying to get all the details sorted out. Travel bag, but no "show stuff" has to go with me. Might work in Fiesta, (SA Holiday), but I might not make it. All depends.

And gear down:
Quick late-afternoon dash downtown to grab the mail and a cup of coffee. I finally ran into a situation that upset me - not for what I said or did - but for what I didn't say or do. There was a young lass in the coffee shop. Full-on Mohawk. Big, purple stripe through it. I should've asked her birthday and gotten a picture. But she a had a group of similarly clad friends cavorting about, and I never got up the nerve. Fine, fine mohawk. Haven't seen one that nice in about half-dozen years. Of course, the first one I saw regularly was from a time from - just a guess - before that one lass was born.


I wandered home in a sprinkle. Didn't matter when I opted to go outside, I'm sure the odd gods were determined that my departure - the point I'm furthest from home - is when it will rain. Wasn't much, though, and as I crossed one bridge home, the sun was out. Plus the sprinkle.

Devil's beating his girlfriend again, huh.

Routine maintenance:
I pitched a jig in the water for a few minutes, trying the "looks like a craw-dad'' trick - to no avail. Then I got to messing with the e-mail program, and making backup of the database and one item, I clicked on, checked the structural integrity of the program.

Got me thinking about "structural integrity" of websites. I've got one that's built on a foundation of text. The weekly column - on the web - will be ten years old in a few months.

When I clicked through to my own archives, what I found was that there's a few holes, and some bad control characters, plus there's a little sloppy editing - all evident.

The way I see it, it looks like the foundations of the site, migrated from server to server to server, I think we're up to number 5 or 6, all point to a shaky and loose underpinning of raw ASCII text files. Like a house built on a foundation of sand. Or a foundation of chaos.

However, I'm always pleased to look back at that first year of weekly columns, and see growth. The problem is I also look back and there's a vibrancy, an urgency, a vitality that seems lacking these days.

What did Hamlet's mom say? "More matter with less art"? (Act II, I think - to Polonius.)

More Virgo with less art:
That's two, count 'em folks, two Virgo ex-lovers been in contact with me lately. I mean, I ain't been some of these girls in years, and I mean years, literally. Both are grandmothers. Both are "happily married," whatever that means.

Glad I'm not, like, you know, bitter or anything.

With apologies - Two-Meat Tuesday
California is weird; New York is crazy; Texas is eccentric and interesting.

Most of the morning, I was on an early schedule, or so I thought, so most of the morning was busy since the muse deigned to get off her ass and pick up the phone. I was looking for an image of something, and as I scrolled through the digital photos, I got sidetracked. I posted two of them, but one is a repeat, so it would seem.

I didn't think about it at the time, but those two pictures next to each other? I think there's a message there. In the afterlife? Smoking or non-smoking? I can only hope I'll be in the smoking section.

In addition to the regular work, I went back to teasing my buddy in the lake. He struck twice, but it wasn't enough for a morning photo-op. Simultaneously, I was, for about the third or fourth time, ripping all 14 CDs of the Ring Cycle opera onto the mini-pod. Plus it was going at the same time. So I was tying on various bass baits while listening to Wagner Opera.

Might be a little eccentric. Bass baits and opera: interesting.

I had to crank up that one part, the flight of the large-chested women-with-wings bit. Horses. Fire. "Fire, huh-huh, huh-huh."

Link-to-link to this. Which brought up a funny point to me. I think there's even a song about it.

See, I started to realize, I'm too redneck for my rock-and-roll friends. But I'm too hard-rock (not rock hard) for my redneck friends. "Dude, you don't wear a do-rag in a bait shop." Guess I do.

On a windy afternoon, after working, then sitting by the lake and feeding the fish brightly colored worms, a "do rag" is perfect. Hair out of my face. Opera on the mini-pod. A little BBQ in the afternoon.

In that opera, I mean, the characters are singing in German, for cryin'-out-loud, it's not like I can understand the words. But the feelings? And the way the orchestration loops back and forth with thematic elements, the drive of the woodwinds, the tenor brass, the soft kettle drums. Amazing sounds.

The best opera in the set is the third, Seigfried. The man character, oddly enogh, his name is Seigfreid, overcomes childhood adversity, slays a dragon, ges the girl. How much better can it be?

So this was a little diversion in Norse mythology. Yee-(something)-haw.

archival images
Just amusing images I dug up, while looking for something else. Or waiting on that damnable muse to return her calls.
image image

In the next week, next Thursday, one of the scopes will be all-new. It wasn't the one that I pieced together a while back. When the scope went "under the editor's knife," the resulting nick and tuck changed it a bit. I wasn't happy. Completely rewrote the whole entry.

Ah, but which one?

I struggled with the rewrite all morning. I tried jigging a small grub on a light jig-head under a long-distance bobber to shake myself loose, get the Muse to answer me. But some days, that bitch of a muse won't pick up the phone.

Really good rod control.

Nice note from the way far north, oddly enough. (Caution: scattered vulgarities.)

"Comfort food" arrives in a variety of guises. Like a platter of cheese enchiladas, wrapped with some poblano peppers and interesting company, like a bitter-sweet Pisces and a genius Sagittarius as dining companions. I only got kicked once for an inappropriate comment.

File under "get a life":
Or, as the conclusion gets to, "Get a life coach."

I saw a local ad about "life-coaching & astrology." Maybe I should branch out, and start calling myself a "life coach." It's actually what I do in some readings, but I'll be damned if I'm going to adopt this week's craze.

Sunday's fish & more
First off, I saw the early show of "Sahara" with that guy from Uvalde. Bongo naked.

The movie, according to the theater's notes, ran 2 hours, 7 minutes. For all of that two hours, I was captivated. I didn't know it was a novel, either, so it's another case where I didn't read the book first. Personally, I really enjoyed the film. Just action. Lots of it. Bad guys are bad, good guys save the world. and the "uber geek" has an Apple computer. Maybe a moral, but the action, although a little improbable, I mean, it's escape literature, just good stuff.

Up early, out at the lake, slightly windy, nice cloud cover, pitched a lot of plastic against the reeds.



Came up with a half dozen fish, well, one fish for me, but at least it was a nice fish. I look a little fashion challenged because, well, I am.

The second fish was caught here at home,. I passed out cold, only to be awakened, time and again by the phone, so I hustled down to the lake without the phone, only to catch really small fish. But it was beautiful example of nice markings on a black bass. A neighbor was watching, too.

"That small? Sounded like a big one."

Need to know department:
Why guys are in charge?

Nine Inch Nails:

Fish notes (for the Pisces):
I'm going to the lake today.

Unrelated material:
Rock on prez!

Tax day and all
Almost forgot: If folks concentrated on the important issues in life, there would be a shortage of fishing poles.

From the bad news department:
The article in The Rolling Stone about oil, and by extension, energy in general. and our long decline. Which is why I choose to walk most places.

Two points came up, the first was that a Clancy novel predicted part of what the author was discussing, just a minor point probably, and further suggestions that fiction is more true than non-fiction. Secondly, the plastic wrap on the sandwich, the top to the "double white mocha no whip," the spindly "take away" container (Styrofoam), the packaging in the last book ordered from Amazon, as a consumer, what portion of the plastic is derived from what we refer to as "oil"? Never mind. Late night thought. I guess I should read more carefully, but it is The Rolling Stone.

Back to my site:
The other statistic I gathered from the quick glance through the site's stats - while addressing a potential problem - the other tiny item that amazed me was the "reefer" list. Usually, there's a single portal that sits at the top of the list, a single URL that directs most of the traffic to a site. However, according to the stats, 40% of the traffic is from bookmarks or having the URL typed in, with Google coming in a very distant second place, at a little over 2%. The rest of the traffic is broken down into even smaller increments from 100's of links. Allegedly, most web traffic is supposedly "portal" driven. For some reason, I've got to be a little more odd, once again. At least, I hope that's what it means.

Addendum to yesterday's eco-porn notation:
The link (caution: triple x site link).

More random notes

Catfishing Tournaments

More pictures of fish (CPR):

image image

Can't tell by the phone cam picture, but the tiny one is actually a 'Warmouth,' every bit as rambunctious as its larger bro.

That one bass was annoying. Healthy buck, tide was out, and he and a buddy kept circling a stump, and they both kept avoiding bait dangled right in front of them. Sight fishing - if we can see them? They can see us. I finally tricked him, but it was a chore. That's a lot of work with a light pole, for just few minutes' fight.

Unrelated (1):
I picked this up from a noted poet, and a mighty fine Leo, all about a PETA I'm enamored of: Poets for the Ethical Treatment of Artists (link).

Unrelated (2):
A note about "Eco-Porn", whatever that is.

Unrelated (3):
"Job happiness is directly proportional to the distance you are from the home office."
(The character John Corey in Nelson DeMille's The Lion's Game. NY: Warner Books, 2000. page 295.)

Semi-related (3.a):
Job happiness is directly related to the amount of time spent enjoying fishing.

Semi-related (3.b):
Moved Satruday's fishing to Sunday.

Unrelated (4):
Creek water is still cold, but felt nice for an afternoon swim - Barton Pool was closed.

Unrelated (5):
At least six miles and numerous "hellos" on the trail. I stopped and chatted with one lad, former tenant, we stopped in the middle of the trail, "Yeah, don't worry Kramer, those shorts? No place to carry a weapon." He grinned.

Unrelated (6):
[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>I kept having this recurrent idea, all day long. Too long and weird for a horoscope. I've been using "Worm-Glo" or "Glo-Worm" dye on a handful of red wigglers. The dye was on the sale rack at a superstore. It's worm food with a green dye in it - all-natural - environmentally safe &c. So I can just imagine the fish, mostly perch these days, but some bass, too (see picture above): "Dude, it's a rush, no, those green worms? Bite it. Got to bite it hard. You get pulled up into the sky, see? Then there's a bright, white light, right? And then suddenly, back here. No, you gotta try it! It's a rush!"

Unrelated (7):
I made one (or two) minor adjustments to the scopes' template. Wasn't anything big, and I thought I'd mention it here. Except that it's the sniffer for older browsers, and I realized that older browsers can't even read the weblog, so, like, what's the point? When I checked the stats last night, for March, looks like 500 hits from older browsers. Out of almost 300,000 hits? Should I even bother? (Well, yes, I will, as it's already set up and I don't have to meddle with a thing.)

Unrealted (8):
Sagittarius. Lots of them. All over the place. Even another 11/28, "Good looking in an odd way, intelligent, odd sense of humor..."

(A little positive PR never hurts.)

All random - all the time
Just a collection.

Nothing begat a nap more strongly than a "Straight Plate*" at Maudie's, perfect punctuation to a hot spring mid-morning. Afternoon. Something.

*Three ground beef enchiladas, covered in cheese, onions and slathered with chili con carne, topped with two fried eggs - an arresting repast, in and of itself.

I wanted to avoid the crowds at the more popular spots, so I stopped in a Starbucks. After placing my order, the cashier commented on how nice my shirt looked.

"A girlfriend gave this to me," I replied.

"She has good taste," the Cancer cashier said.

"She tastes good, too," I replied.

Comment garnered a squeal. Always trying to make the day a little more surreal.

I've worn that shirt for two hours in two days. It has a spot of BBQ sauce from Tuesday's "dos carne" and spot of hot sauce from Maudie's. When I get hungry again? I'll just suck shirt**.

**Gratuitous Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas allusion.

Fish on!
[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>(Like, dude, you know, "Surf's up!" Or, "Incoming!")

The biggest of half-dozen small fry. And half dozen neighbors stopped by. Each one said, "I'd like to see you catch a fish," and then wandered off. Then I'd get a solid bite. I know, tiny doesn't really count, but it beats, like, honest work and so forth.

And if the real fish get any bigger, they might try and eat a boat.

Austin gasoline price index. Back that up with a note about how walk-able Austin is and there's some connection. I'm just not sure what.

Two-Meat Tuesday
Part the First and Part the Second:

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>I woke up with an image of pinball machine in my head. I'm sure there's some metaphor, some idea attached to the image. What flipped through my mind, as I watched the little silver ball get bounced around the play field of the machine, what I thought about was that broken flipper.

Just coming out of a period of time like the last "Mercury is retrograde - oh boy" give pause to reflect and think back. Personally, and I've used this in scopes before so it's not new, too much time spent looking backwards impedes forward motion. Might miss something in my path, trip and fall.

I was thinking about that pinball machine, the little ball being me, bounced around and hammered up and down, sometimes scoring points, racking up big bonuses, and other times, not going anywhere but down the drain,

Part of the image that I was working included a broken flipper, just when that pinball gets to a point where there's still a game, if both flippers worked, only, one of the game's paddles is broken. Or injured, maybe not completely inoperable, but it doesn't work fully. Gives it half-hearted hit, just bounces the metal ball about halfway from here to there.

I was correcting a "galley proof" copy of an upcoming scope. Same thing I was working on yesterday morning. The difference? Tuesday, officially, more or less, Mercury was no longer allowed to mess with my brain. Caught the errors faster and work flowed more smoothly.

Quick bit about The Lonely Planet series. I've thumbed through a few copies of the guides, and one item stuck out: they were stealing my material. Not really, but places that I mentioned, heretofor otherwise unmentioned, showed up in their guides for Texas.

(Keeping it real, here. Ain't sold out yet.)

Did I mention one of the many reasons I love where I live?

Part two:
Fish de jour:


The back story? Mid-morning, there was a school of bass lounging in the shade by the dock. I flipped a few worms at them, and one tried it, didn't like the taste and spit it out. I got back to other work. Started fishing late afternoon, caught half dozen little fish. Tiny fish, as seen above. I switched to a different pole, new line, spooled up for the weekend, and got a long cast out to the weeds. Caught a girlfriend, and now that she's not "with child" anymore? She had a lot of fight. She used to be a tail wagger, but last night? She was jumping, shaking her head. Not ten feet from my grasp, I was already framing a picture in my mind, she shook the hook.

Some days, the fish wins. Worse yet? I can't blame the planets.

Monday's mess.
Got home from a fabulous coastal and western trip. Nothing like hauling myself down to the coast and feeding bait shrimp to the fish.

It took three tried to get the weekly audio file in some sort of usable format. Even at that, I'm still not happy with it, but it's better than nothing. I worked on it, off and on, all day. Recorded, erased, recorded again, erased some more.

Short hike with a red-headed Capricorn. The water cooler at one coffee shop wasn't marked "water," but rather, the sign on it said "vodka."

Long afternoon with two small fish, and one large turtle. Really big turtle.

Which made me wonder, if Sea Turtle was, at one time, a highly prized leather, why can't snapper or red-ear be treated the same way?

A neighbor watched me fight with the big turtle. I was planning on letting him keep the hook, but I wasn't a bout to let my bobber, weights and beads go with it.


Mercury on the road?
Mercury is a funny little planet. Toys with one's brain patterns, more than anything else. So a quick road trip is always refreshing. Nothing's as good as a dash to the coast under leaden skies, and quick round of inner coastal shoreline fishing.

Two flounders, two Sheepshead, a perch, and really small shark. The shark was less than a foot long. Baby shark. Picture didn't turn out - I was a little excited.

Home again, just in time for a pattern shift. Heard some mighty funny things. Think I've found a new place to hide out, too. Suffice it to say that coffee's good, the staff is saucy, and right out the back door? There's a spot on the sea wall where I can fish.

(click for larger image)





(click for larger image)



Rocky to Road Point, part one
Taco Cabana: one friend reminded me, "It's not fast food, it's casual dining."

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style> But at the corner of Hildebrand and San Pedro, there's the original Taco Cabana. I looked for a plaques, especially a historical marker. But there's none there.

It was fast food the other evening, and perhaps the chain itself likes to consider itself "casual dining - not fast food," but at the first store?

The food came whipping out fast. Money tendered, order was up. That quick.

No historical marker, either, but there was a telling sign on the trash bins.

Road to Rocky Point, part 2
The beauty of the way I like to travel is that there is no hurry. There is but there isn't. Thursday afternoon, I found that the strap on one of my sandals had worn through. For a pedestrian like me, this is the same as blow-out.

Since, well, for me anyway, the road to the coast goes through San Antonio, a quick call to Piper Sandals ascertained that they were available for some emergency sandal repair.

I'll either wear boots or sandals, and out of the sandals, preferably Piper Sandals. Hand-made in Texas. San Antonio, Texas. It's actually a cottage industry, quite literally. Company runs out of the garage. Aries guy, now that I know that, I'll plug it from an Aries point-of-view.

Piper Sandals aren't very expensive, and seeing as how they can be resoled every year, or whenever the sole wears out, then that turns the sandals into a renewable resource.

My left sandal was dragging pretty bad, and the strap was broken, which is probably why it was dragging. So at 9 PM on a Thursday night, the Piper Sandals Cottage Industry opened up and let me drop of the pair for repair. And since I was there, I figured I'd just pick up another pair for the next couple of weeks, a different style.

They only come in two styles, anyway.

I got to ruminating on the relative success of the Piper Sandal Co. Just a mom & pop set-up, run from a garage.

Find one product, and do that product well. I've had sandals resoled before, and Dave Piper included a personal note, explaining why he was a little tardy in getting them back to me. (6 weeks is 6 weeks, just a long time to be without my main form of transportation.)

That extra note, the little touch, the excellence in customer service, that's the secret.

Plus they're damn fine footwear.

Point to Rocky Road, Part iii



But seriously folks
"We'll be here all week, tip your wait persons."

I was cruising along in the morning, just clicking on a few news items, monitoring the site's traffic, and waiting on coffee to kick in.

I looked up a patron saint of something, which led to another patron saint, and a future link, which then led to the the Patron Saint of Texas, according to the Catholic database.

Now, this is all before the coffee kicked in. So my thinking might have been a little muddy, like the viscous brew I was slurping.

"Blessed Virgin," Patron Saint of Texas? It's a her, why is is called patron, same root as patriarchy, isn't it? Implies a male thing?

The coffee has caught up. Never mind. Still, just odd to me, the nativity for her darling son was probably around the same time (of year, 1800 years earlier) as the birth of Texas.

But never mind that now:
The last couple of days, a portion of downtown Austin has been occupied with film crews. I asked at one coffee shop, I mean, of all the people in the world, the help there really should know, being better informed and closer to the street than anyone else, I figured. I figured wrongly, too. Nope, no clue.

A customer in line, in line behind an obvious road hand (gaffer, key grip, roadie, &c.) submitted that it was a movie called "Revolver," starring Sara, or maybe Sharon, or some other name I didn't immediately recognize.

One of the guys behind the counter dashed outside with quarters rattling in his grip. Moments later, he was back, muttering about movies that take up all the good parking. He got a ticket. Really shouldn't do that to a Scorpio.

"Man, I missed it by less than 30 seconds, and they got me."

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style> Different stops, no more filming, or so it seems, and an all-Gemini afternoon. Three different baristas, two stops, and all Gemini. That''s just a coincidence, I'm sure.

Along the Shoal Creek trail, by the power planet, there was lavender in full bloom.

"But the picture's not lavender."

So the lavender pictures didn't turn out. Most of the pictures didn't turn out. Just one.

I think it's just a weed, like poppy or something, but there was a row of this with a rust-colored iron fence as a background.

"Concrete and steel" by ZZ Top.

Ducks in a row:
(no picture, sorry) - Every evening, last three evenings, I've been fishing around sundown. And every evening, last three evenings, a (I'm assuming) momma duck goes by with a almost a dozen little ducks behind her. THe first night, some of the chicks were whitish, but by the second and third pass, all of them were bright yellow, just like the little rubber duckies everywhere. I don't know what kind of duck it is, it's a duck, you know, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck. I just thought it was cool to see the little yeller fellers, for real.

(not so) Brief Aquarius notes
In the last couple of days, I've had a long run of folks with an Aquarius Moon in their natal charts. That means, to me, that the Moon was in the Tropical Zodiac Sign of Aquarius at the time of birth. And that means?

Written word varies from verbal delivery by about a mile and half, especially in my case. Plus, there are items that I try to convey in person and some of this material just doesn't lend itself to a short narrative form.

Anyway, to start with, understand that Mercury orbits the Sun about every 88 days. North Pole, South Pole, blah blah blah...

Venus, 260 days for an orbit, north pole, south pole, and so on..

Earth, 365 days, north pole (Canada, right?), south pole, 17 degree axial tilt, day, night, seasons, blah blah blah.

Mars, 22 months (give or take, I'm doing this from memory), north pole, south pole, Martians, Rover, and so forth, blah blah blah.

Jupiter 12 years, north pole, south pole, &c. Saturn, 28 years, rings, poles, you know the rest.

Each planet is hooked up with an astrology sign. Aquarius gets Uranus. (If you're about to smirk at that planet's name, I'll smack you really hard. Don't even go there. It's not funny any more.)

I tend to just refer to the planet as "Your-nuss" to prevent any childish snickering.

Anyway, this planet is the one that is associated with Aquarius. Odd ducks, them Aquarius folks. Several astrology writers have shied away from any kind of Aquarius Love Fest because, apparently, those authors don't understand some of the basics of either astronomy or human behavior.

I've used the expression before, and I'll reiterate it, "Each Aquarius is an individual, just like every other Aquarius."

Which actually works, as each Aquarius is a little different than whatever "normal" is. Which might be a problem, until I go back to the astronomy involved, and the planet associated with this one sign: Uranus.

See, the planets in our solar system all have, basically, a rotation pattern wherein, there's a north pole and south pole, more or less, at a ninety degree angle to the sun. Like here at home. More or less. But Uranus (Aquarius) the north pole points at the sun at all times. So it's rolling along sideways, compared to the rest of the solar system. 84 year orbit, too.

There's really a lot more that has to do with the mechanics of the way it works, but let's just, for the sake of demonstration, consider that the ruling planet for Aquarius is 90 degrees off from the rest of the solar system. Unlike any other sign. The symbolism is too hard to shake.

The Aquarius "theme" is rebel. Weird. Odd. Different. Plus, it's an air sign. Intellectual, as well. Usually very smart cookies. Very smart. But sometimes in an odd way.

Last weekend, I was seated across from some guys with a product that helped with ADD, ADHD, ADT, or whatever we're calling it this week. Dollars to donuts, though, I've found that some of that "Attention Deficit" material stems from either Gemini, afflicted Mercury, or Aquarius stuff in a chart. Air. Thinking material.

In a recent exchange, I asked an Aquarius how that person felt about a certain situation. The all-too-typical response?

"I think I feel..."

The flip side of the question? What did that person think about the same situation?

"I feel like it's..."

It's not that these folks don't have hearts, quite the opposite. But the expression comes across as different.

The ADD banner made me think about the Aquarius and the way they take tests. Let's assume it's a multiple choice, A, B, C. C is the correct answer. But A is cute, funny and poignant. The typical Aquarius answer? A.

Look: this test s going to be graded by a machine. Doesn't matter that answering A made a funny point. So the test results don't go so very well, and they belie the Aquarius intellectual ability. (I'd probably mark A, too. I'm funny like that. Why I'm no longer in academia, as well.)

True story: an Aquarius friend wanted to go and listen to some "alt-country" one evening, down at the Broken Spoke. It's a treasure of a venue, a step back in time, where the males are gentlemen and wear hats, like they're supposed to, and everyone is pure redneck. I love the place. Boots and jeans are not required but a very good idea. So the Aquarius? She shows up at my place wearing a darling metallic miniskirt, white knee-high go-go boots, and for a purse? A little backpack that looked like a jet-pack. Well, this is Austin, but even then, she did look a little odd. Not exactly out of place, but not quite in-step with the crowd. As an unnecessary addendum, she was whisked into the "Country Mosh Pit" within thirty seconds. I think I was still shelling out the cover charge.

Typical Aquarius approach, that's for sure. Didn't blend, but fit in perfectly well.

The final Aquarius Moon reading, earlier (Wednesday, actually), was enlightening for me. I was running through some of this material, after I slapped myself because I didn't recall the moon sign when we set up the reading, and then the client suggested the term, "intellectual rebel."

Wished I'd said it first. But yeah, that's as good as an expression as anything I can come up with. Just a little different.

I have a mental box for all 12 signs. A little slot of each planet, sign, attribute and so forth. But for the Aquarius box? There are no sides. No top. Nothing to constrain or contain the Aquarius spirit. No limits. Which means, that the Aquarius is quite content to stay within that framework because there is no framework. Only makes sense.

Remember, it goes back to the astronomy, Uranus is 90 degrees different from everything else in the system. Like Aquarius.

The mechanics are really a little different than 90 degrees, it's something like 87 degrees and the north pole and the south pole swap positions every 42 years, or one-half of an orbit, which, oddly enough coincides with a mid-life turning point. But for the sake of symbolism, just assume it's 90 degrees. Much easier concept to grasp, and the planet's still sideways, no matter how you look at it.

I was listening to neighbor, cavorting in the spring sun. Weather's a hot topic, as a Leo, then a Sagittarius, and finally a vocal Gemini jumped into a heated discussion about Tuesday's brief but severe weather.

"Golf ball sized hail," one was saying. I can verify that. I stepped out, under the awning, briefly, while I watched the ice fall from the sky.

Less than an hour earlier, I'd been creek-side, with a pole in hand, feeding worms to my little friends.

But then, Wednesday was cool and clear. nary a sign of the brief deluge.

"Dude, I've got to cancel dinner," a Pisces was telling me, "a boyfriend showed up."

That's why I like being "boyfriend lite," Doesn't bother me a bit when the real thing shows up. I'm happy for them.

Further reverberations:
I putting on the headset, slamming a tape down in the machine, and getting ready for a phone reading. I noticed I had a bare hook, and I'd been meaning to pop a new worm on that hook. I opened up some "new" plastic worms, "infused with the flavor bass crave" and I gagged. The cat went outside.

Worse than a week-long vacation with no empty litter box. More noxious than, well, I give up. Catfish bait? Sure. But a plastic bass worm? It really made the place stink. Bad. It's a variation of garlic, but not like an appetizing garlic, more like a rancid one. Bad smell. Put it on the pole and left the pole outside. Insects wouldn't land on it. So far, neither would the fish.

Only one place to keep bait that good, in the ice box. Inside a ziploc bag inside a tupperware. Double bagged, so to seal the deal.

Let me see, that phone reading, Sunday through Wednesday, that's four days. Any bet on the moon sign? I think I'll continue that thought in an astrology lesson, as I learned something today.

Several years ago, a place called "Freebirds" was all the rage. There's a new one on South Congress, and I had a "big as your face" burrito there. First time, probably won't be the last, either.

Three little fishes, after dark. Then the wind kicked up pretty good and I gave up.

Brief political notation:
Seems like one Texas elected guy just can't catch a break. I almost feel sorry for him. (Not really!)

Can't hit the road without one last musical notation:
"I left Houston Texas in a Gulf Coast Hurricane, I was blowed down by tornados, washed up by the rain.

(Robert Earl Keen, off The Live Album)

"I'm headed for the border, man, I'm goin' down in style..."

It's all just random
I pulled a couple of pictures off the camera. Seemed to fit with the days.

image[/style> The Yellow Rose started as a bud, and Ma Wetzel had made sure I took it and brought it home with me. I placed it in water, and left it on the kitchenette's counter. It caught some morning light, and I snapped a quick picture. I'm saving the best copy for publication.

image[/style> I grabbed a couple of shots, on my way to lunch Tuesday, because there was some resonance with the image. Regrettably, I don't have a way, time or place to mess with doing what I was thinking of doing. But a parking lot for Romeo's? There's a great deal of information that could be read into that kind of an image. The problem is I keep coming up with alternative splash images, but I don't currently employ a splash page.

As far the image itself, I was tinkering with the romance text, yet again, and wondering what to do about that. I figured a Romeo image, especially with a "violators will be towed" sign would be good. To me, that carries the correct message.

Unrelated musical notation:
This one caught me surprises, but Progressive Rock is making a comeback. Remember what that is? The first time around? For that matter, I'm still looking for Rick Wakeman's 6 Wives of Henry VIII.

Hip trends
Podcasting. Gets a "yeah, right," and a roll of the eyes from me.

The flip side of the un-asked question, I wonder, is that like an un-carved block, is whether or not the weekly audio message is just that.

What happened, I was toying with Apple's Garage Band, and I accidentally recorded myself. An idea was born. Shortly after that, I started laying down a two-minute weekly look at the sky.

Which has grown to a slightly longer entry, at least, this week.

As of last month, ten percent of the bandwidth for the site was that audio message. That's been a steady trend, born out by the site's stats, for more than a year. Starting this week, I remembered to date the message, too. Hey, my bad, I wasn't bothering with that before because I thought it sounded too formal, and, to be honest, I didn't have a clue.

I still might not "have a clue," but that's not germane to this discussion.

Why don't I put that up on some feed someplace? Because the weekly audio is limited to the subscription area of the site. "If you don't pay, you don't get to play." It's really pretty simple.

So I glanced through the demographics for podcasting, as that article, a white paper, puts it all together.

So why haven't I set up a feed for the weekly message? Part of the problem is the organic nature of the site's layout, and part of the problem is that I refuse to be too bleeding edge anymore.

I had several great ideas for this week's message, but between the road itself and the work at either end of the trip, I just didn't have time to pull it all together like I wanted. Me? I can blame the planets. Other folks? I don't know what they'll do.

I've stopped short of doing a feed because, for one, it's too much work today, and I'd rather be doing something more productive. Then, the second problem, like I mentioned, is the site's underlying framework, and the way the business works. Information may want to be free, but bandwidth costs money.

A tech weblog mentioned a piece of hardware I'd be interested in. I clicked through on the link, but got a 404. The seller's website hadn't been updated, or, perchance, it was vapor-rumor-hardware. Unless I come across another link, sometime in the future, chances of me buying that item are pretty slim, as I'm inclined to not go back.

In the same way, a feed that dead-ends into a password-only directory would just irritate me.

I've found that the weekly audio update adds just what I thought was missing, and stretches my creative muscles in a different fashion. I was scared at first, but I've warmed to the task, and I've even gotten to where I think about issues ahead of time, to find the right example to fit the week.

But for iPods? I'll download music, even pay for it on certain occasions, but I can't see downloading a bunch of messages to listen to, then throw away. But just because it doesn't interest me, apparently, it does interest some people.

Most of the blogs I read, or that I look at, are personal. I like that part. it's not so much the content, although I dearly enjoy certain personal analysis of news items and reviews, it's as much the style. Part of that derives from the way I was trained to read, and part of that is just the way I think.

My "it's not good to go into my mind after dark, alone, or unarmed" mind.

But just like skipping a song that I don't want to hear at a particular moment, I suppose a pod-cast audio file cold be skipped, too.

I don't have an hour-long commute, at least not very often. Occasionally, I'll spin up to Dallas, or down to San Antonio, or even to the coast, but that's not a commute. It's a road trip. With road trip music. I don't want to hear someone holding forth, unless I've got a good traveling companion, and that makes the discussion interactive.

Now, for those who are so inclined, it's real easy, and starting this week, date-stamped, too, to download then upload the weekly message.

For me? I figure that way too much work. I can just listen on the site.

Two-fold Tuesday
"Kramer? Were you fishing in the lake, Town Lake, yesterday?"

Well, yes, yes I was. I eventually caught three very small fish. Not that it counts, either, as they weren't much bigger than minnows. At least one wasn't much bigger. So I didn't mention that.

"I thought that was you, Kooky Kramer."

Kooky Kramer? I've been called many things, but that's one I can do without. I'm shocked, just shocked.

Pisces. Go figure.

I switched my attention the Aquarius lad who was my server, inquiring about life in Aquarius land, which had more downs than ups. In the last two weeks, I queried?

"Yeah, how did you know?"


"See," chimed in the Pisces, "that's why we call you Kooky Kramer, you just know stuff."

Or I like what I do.

Which leads to the second entree for the entry, flavors for the time being.

In the last 72 hours, every chart I looked at had a common theme: Aquarius Moon. Now that's just plain weird, to me, and I do this stuff all the time. Started Sunday morning, and after a while I realized that everyone had the same moon sign. Just an anomaly, I'm sure. Or a weird twist of fate. Different sun signs, but the same moon. In a reading Tuesday afternoon, same thing. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

"There are no coincidences."


(Don't be handing me back no new age crap I've tossed out!)

Kramer? We need an updated lecture here.
So for the October schedule, and for June in NM, as well, one of my promoters was asking for updated lecture material, new PR crap. Material, excuse me.

So I got thinking. Then I tied a heavy lead weight on pole and thought I should try throwing that before I did anything else.

In a real consultation, one of the factors that I'm addressing this year is going to be a long and sordid series of retrograde planets. Mercury, Mars and finally Venus. which is going to make for an interesting Fall Season, that's for sure.

Of particular interest to me, while I was working up the yearly material, is the way Mars will be backwards in Taurus, opposite from Scorpio. I can expect a lot of noise then.

In a rather general way, it's good for business and bad for relationships. Remember that all generalizations are false; therefore, the outcome is dependent upon a real look at the situations, and how these energies play with each other. Or don't play, as the case may be.

For the PR packages, that's the head shot. I like it; works for me.

For the text, though, I've got to come up with a new set of lines that describe what I'll talk about. I might even have to come up with a new talk. Thankfully, the planets keep moving and doing strange things to strange people, so life's job is getting easier.
For one workshop, it'll be a two-part bit, of that I am sure. However, the components that are the same? I'm sure I can do a quick paragraph for that.

The first part, the introduction, is material that's in the books, but the second part, or in one case, the bulk of the lecture, will be about what's going on with retrograde planets, what to do, how to combat the situations (as if), and by October, I'll also be addressing what's going to be coming up in 2006.

Working title? Inner planet retrogrades, what to do (and what not to do).
"Kramer's lecture and workshop will focus on the personal planets like Mars, Venus and Mercury, and the talk will offer insight and help for dealing with the present Mars Retrograde, and will address future trends as the other planet patterns, unfolding now and on into the beginning of 2006, to help make the best of the situations and help with timing."

I don't like hammering on this stuff when the planets are where they are, but I've got to get something out. Dern promoters and deadlines.

I kept seeing highway signs and after looking at the freeway for many miles, some of these items blur together.

"Grooved pavement ahead" and "Textured pavement."

How about, "Groovy, textured pavement"?

Last of the road trip
I was trying to bat the clock, the car had to be back by noon, and it's hard to pass up sitting around on a Monday morning, shooting the breeze with the parental units.

I missed most of the rush hour, and I just poked along, avoiding big trucks and fast cars, Lyle Lovett was singing about Texas girls and trucks, as I pulled off the highway in Waco, long enough to get a coffee.

The guy at the drive through, as I ordered a "quad venti soy latte" suggested I had an expensive habit.

I merged back on the interstate, got into the center lane and thumbed on the music again, last of Lyle, then the Chemical Brothers, "Out of control."

A red chevy pickup flew past in the fast lane, probably close to triple digits. Perfect timing for the song.

Back in Austin.

Duck tape
I was thinking about starting a new category, calling it Duck Tape, but I think that's been done before, plus, I can usually cover that material under the "road stories" selection.

For taxonomy, that makes it a lot simpler. Road, web and home. Home, where I'm headed, via the road, and the web, where this is.

image[/style>"I'd go home, but my home's right here," (21 days on the road).

Unrelated, uno:
Something along the lines of "Why I'm not smoking the podcasting dope."

The title alone intrigued me. But I'm down with that.

Unrelated, two:
Bitter look at that question. Again.

"You and your Sister just makes stuff up."

I called it "malicious fiction," at least on Sister's part.

"It's not genetic," I said.

"No, it's not." (Scorpio Ma Wetzel)

"And it's not a learned behavior, certainly not from here," I said.

"Of course not." (Scorpio Ma Wetzel)

Fire in wolf's clothing.
"Sheep in wolf's clothing."

image[/style> So I'm working at a little card table, in Ft. Worth, doing my bit, and trying to hustle a dollar or two. I'm liking the people, the grounds, the entire experience because, in part, it's a place I'm familiar with, plus, I know most of the characters on hand.

That, and the aforementioned fact that Ft. Worth itself feels like a nice town, hippies and ropers, emo's and cowboys, all blend seamlessly together.

Across from me, there were three women, and I've done readings for at least two of them and the third, a lovely, comely lass of expected proportions, I think we've met before. Consider that I've worked various fair circuits for over a decade, and sooner or later, I encounter a lot of people.

So it was an Aries (fire sign), a Leo (fire sign) and a Sagittarius (fire sign), three pretty women in a row. Two are married, one's involved. I've got to stress the point, I'm not lusting, liking, leering, or anything else, just being nice.

At a dull moment in the afternoon, I wandered over, and we all talked shop and signs and stuff that was going on, and the fact that this wasn't the first "metaphysical expo" next to a gun show. Or a horse and cattle show. (It was a first for me, but I sort of expected something akin to this.)

The three women, took to posturing in such a way, I'm not sure, I don't know a lot about the female gender (interesting shapes, likes chocolate), but I got a very distinct impression I was getting the "Don't flirt with me too much" with odd comments about husbands and children and boyfriends.

What I found a little odd, and gave me pause, I knew this ahead of time. I wasn't even remotely thinking, feeling, looking, lusting like that. Not at all. I wasn't in a prowler - growler mode. Just nice.

I was just trying to be nice.

A little later in the day, one of the promoters noted that I looked nice, but she'd only ever seen me in shorts.

"Kramer? All dressed like that? You clean up nice."

Web to bricks and paper to web.
Two amusing thoughts.

First off, as I was meandering back along the old turnpike, I thought, maybe a half-dozen years back, there was a store out here, or there, and I made a pilgrimage to the store, only to be a little disappointed, it was just for specific computer peripherals, and the store - in the flesh - left me decidedly underwhelmed. I'd order from the website, but in person? The store wasn't worth me pulling off the road.

The other part, as I was relating my preference to reading news online, I found an article, near and dear to the parents' cars, as it was about how to make a Hybrid go further,

I found the article online, glanced at it, made a comment about it, and then found that the folks wanted to see it, so I had to leaf through a real newspaper, trying to found the article for them, as they'd missed the article, so far.

In some situations, I prefer the web, but I've been assured it's a generational "thing."


From Saturday morning
Random thoughts about Mercury, Texas, and the rest of ya'll.

Seems like, and I was triggered by something Kinky said the other evening, the term "cowboy" no longer evokes a hero-like figure. Which the author was bemoaning, and he promised to do something about bringing back our titles to their original glory.

I spent some time wandering around Ft. Worth, maybe five years ago. Something about a girlfriend, a Virgo, and the idea that it's bad to try and date a girl in Dallas and a girl in Ft. Worth at the same time. Which is why I live like monk, but that's got nothing to do with the fact that I really do like the way Ft. Worth feels.

It's weird.

The "Body Mind Soul Expo," a gun show, and ranch products - all under one roof. There's just something so right about stepping next door, the next convention hall over from us, and there's row after row of saddles, some custom built, from a place in San Angelo (TX). The smell of the leather, that alone, worth a whiff.

A toughened, skinny lady goes walking by, her boots have spurs clinking. Or jangling. Sounded more like the gentle spurs, without the spikes. I think those really clink, not jangle like the songs suggest.

I've suggested it before, an item that I'm sure I picked up from a Ft. Worth propaganda piece, but it's really true, this is where the West, the mythical West, begins.

It's a good thing. Couple of observations, like the guy with the Las Vegas Harley shirt, and he was sporting a multi-color Mohawk. For real. Not far away? A more dapper attired (and to be honest, the attire ran towards boots, jeans and cowboy hats), with a 12-Gauge slunbg under an arm, "For Sale," and details about the firearm.


quick pic
really got it, I hope it turned out....

Home sweet home
"Some writers take longer than necessary to say things." (Ma Wetzel doesn't claim I have that problem, and I looked at my father, and I didn't say a thing. Not a problem with me, according to my wee Scorpio mum.)

When I rolled out of Dallas, the weather ticker said the temp in Ft. Worth was 36. At 10 in the morning? Same ticker was reading 63.

Rolled into Ft. Worth early for the load-in. I was greeted by a number of signs:

Gun Show

Gun Show People

Where I'm working

I was trying to find a place where both signs were side by side, as we're next to each other. Doesn't bother me, but some of the folks are littlle nervous.

The road to Ft. Worth?
Alternatively, the long and winding road that leads to, uh, where was this going?

Before I was ever out the door, I was going to pull together the first part of this year's audio files, and dump them on a CD for my dear, sweet (wee) Scorpio mum. Which made me realize that Mercury is backwards, and it would probably help if I dated the audio entries, like say when it was for. Just a thought, but then, it's not like I have lot of experience in the audio arena. Yet. But back o the road again....

The things I do. I reserved a car, via their agents, and when I showed up, the perky Virgo behind the counter said I was early, like a day early.

Still, being the kind and patient soul that I am, she did get it sorted out. I was stuck with no upgrade, no bonus or anything like that, in a subcompact. A sub-sub-compact. A very tiny car. I have a suitcase that's probably bigger than the car.

Away I went. A client had a special errand in Austin, and since I was on the road, could I please look into this matter? Just a slight detour through East Austin, out this country road, then down this dirt road, and the instructions got a little muddled. I realize that first sign of danger should've been "you turn off the pavement at," and I'm not kidding. Outside the city limits, an agricultural worker who didn't speak much, if any, English. Potholes in the road, possibly potholes big enough, conceivably, to swallow that little car completely.

Mission accomplished, I turned the little car around and motored off towards Dallas and Fort Worth.

I made good time, less than two hours to cover 120 miles, but I hit the Ft. Worth city limits, and things started to slow down. Two hours to go 120, or more, and 2 hours to go from loop 820 to Bass Pro Shop, maybe 30 miles. Friday afternoon rush hour. I forgot how much fun big cities can be.

When the rubber mets the road, there's a rhythm that gets established, and after sitting in that car for several hours, a another half hour delay in traffic didn't bother me. It sure upset some folks, though. that was almost as much fun to watch, just a like a scene from a movie, keep changing lanes and the other lane inches ahead faster. Works every time.

I was wearing shorts when I left Austin, plus an orange Hawaiian shirt over a purple Wagner's Ring T-shirt. Perfectly normal in Austin. Stopping along the way, though, I realized that it was getting chilly, and then, I noticed that I was possibly a little oddly dressed, for the Bucks in Waco, or was it a Wal-Mart in Temple? I don't rightly recall, just the odd looks.

"Hey, no problem, I'm from Austin."

April Fool notes:
This worried me. (link)

"I know you're broken up that you can't fish this weekend, but we can arrange for something in our swimming pool."

In Apple news, Jobs to IKEA.

Win a free iPod.

Not unlike my own living will.

Intriguing, how to get fired?

spam notes
(and the ubiquitous question, why hasn't MSM picked up this story?)

Spam King bnakrupt would be a dandy banner headline.

Road Notes:
(subtitle: road scholar)

Just piece from some site about life on the road.

April Fool's day
Which has nothing to do with anything around here, as I usually have a solid sense of the absurd, so it's not like one day a year is going to matter much.

I'll pick up a rent car and motor up the freeway of life towards an evening with the parental units, then off to lovely Ft. Worth for a weekend of working. Doubt I'll get to post much. I have that ominous, "Can you look at my computer" feeling about any time spent around the parental units.

Thursday three-way:
Some afternoons have a distinctive flavor, like November Scorpio or Sagittarius. Thursday afternoon was the lovely Libra flavor. All day, so it seemed.

That Libra popped by with some owed money, "You know, cash, that stuff all the kids are raving about," she typed.

We shot down to Sandy's for a quick repast, Thursday's special, and while we were eating, a car in line, I couldn't make out the driver's face through the tinted glass on the driver's side, was waving. The lady eventually introduced herself, as I looked just like some guy named "Kenny." Libra.

Libra. Then, one more for dinner. so that's three.

Islands in the Net by Austin-based author, Bruce Sterling. (Supposedly, besides speculative fiction, Sterling is an internet persona - I wouldn't know, never met him.)

I recall exactly zero about the plot. I recall next to nothing about most of the book, and I had to check, Amazon lists the book as a June, 1988 publication date. I was in college, I think, at the university, first time I read the book, and I still have a fine, first edition hardback.

I've reread it a couple of times, and I still don't recall much, other than some of its action was set in Texas, but that's characteristic of Sterling's canon, and just one more reason why I like his work.

What I do recall about that one novel, Islands in the Net?

Something from the novel, an idea, a description, a tiny bit of text, came bubbling up into my consciousness as I looked at my bookshelf, overflowing with books. I was checking the scopes, and I was looking at a particular bit I'd written for this week, and I was wondering how it would impact a certain client I know, who will be reading it. Might've already ingested it. Then there's a link, and that link leads to a web journal, and from that web journal, there's a link to a set of images taken - and uploaded - from a phone camera.

Which ties back to the novel. Much has changed, and parts of the book are dated. Some of the events and technologies didn't go in the technical direction posited in the novel, but there has always been, in my mind, an underlying sense - to me - that the novel did grasp much about what was going to happen. Perhaps more on an allegorical level than a real level, but still, it's there.

It's scary to commit some kind of story like that to print, only to have it much abused later as "out of date" and "missed the boat," but I admire that kind of absence of self-doubt. Brave.

Like writing horoscopes, huh?

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

I always wondered
The price is right?

I am worth $1,960,840.00 on HumanForSale.com

That's nice. Who said I couldn't be bought?

Weird Wednesday
There was just much weirdness, sort a free-floating weirdness quotient, all day Wednesday. I took copious notes, but I never got around to collating all the facts. Or coincidences.

Item: fishers of fish.

I walked past one of the leftover Carp Anglers Group guys, a Yorkshire lad, and he had his "Wad Pod" arrayed under a bridge. I passed him as I was headed out to go swim. I stopped and chatted about gear and baits, and weights. One year, him and his wife, between the two, they banked over a 1,000 pounds of carp. We talked about other places he fishes, too.

"There's this one pond, you know, it's the last lake in a sewage treatment chain, 4,000 acres. Some of the guys eat the fish they catch there."

Only in America. Seems that carp fishing is a big deal in the UK and Europe.

"I live in California, you know, I tried bass fishing, just didn't do it."

He slung 3 ounce lead sinker attached to a smelly bait and huge hook.

"It's braided line, 30 pound, but the same size as 8 pound mono."

I passed him three more times. The other guy had pulled in a 65 pound bull-head, and a couple of 20 pound carp.

"I lost one, that's about it."

Item: Sagittarius.

image[/style> More specifically, November Sagittarius. Include Kinky and that girl in line behind us? That covers Scorpio, too, at least November Scorpios.

On my way to the bookstore, I needed to back track and swing through the post office to mail a taped reading and check the mail. A local singer/songwriter/ex-boyfriend/rock star (and all-around nice guy) was there, sucking down a wee espresso and a chowing on a cookie. Long, blond hair, sculptured cheek bones, sparkling blue eyes, and bare arms.

"Sagittarius, right?" I asked. I've done this before to this guy, he's enough of a public persona to be unflappable.

"Yes, how did you know?"

"Hey, do you really have a tattoo that says, 'Her Name' on your arm?" I asked. I was facing his left side. He turned around. There it was. "Can I get a picture of that?"


He posed. I joked about wanting to get a tat with a heart and scroll through it that said, "Your name here."

"No," he countered, "just leave it blank. Then you can put any name in with a sharpie."

One - or more - of his ex-girlfriends are clients.

So I walked on over to the bookstore, and snapped a shot of the next governor of Texas, and went inside to buy the book. There was another Sagittarius girl. Former tenant from my brief stint as an apartment manager. With another tale about a sordid experience with a landlord. it's so freaky, she's a November Sagittarius. Then there was a that Libra again, with her latest (uh, dear, what do I call him?), and I had him down cold. 11-28 Sagittarius.

Odd duck, that lad. Well-read. Literate but unwashed. Reminds me of me. The similarities were scary. Very cool guy.

After the talk, while standing in line, there was that Scorpio alert going off in my head. November Scorpio girl behind us. I asked her birthday, and I took a mock step backwards when I realized it was a Scorpio.

"It's okay, Scorpio: silent but violent," she said.

She grinned.

Book celebrities
linkykinky[/style> Ten Little New Yorkers by Kinky Friedman, and we can only hope that his bid for Governor has a chance. He was in town last night, ostensibly, to promote his book. do the book signing thing. (Sign? Scorpio. Kinky's a Scorpio.)

[/style>The last time I saw Kinky talk, I was in San Antonio for work. From what I recall, he seemed a little harried. Just life on the road, I suppose. But in town, last night, he was more calm, assured, and the joking, the trenchant wit, was all back in good form.

About a previous career?

"I was the first full-blooded Jew to be on the Grand Ole Opry. Twice. Three times?"

He had to ask to verify it was just twice.

And as an avowed Jew, he's got some good thinking about the whole political correctness that's damaging social discourse. Okay, so he swapped his Yamaha for a black cowboy hat, but still, to hear him say, "I think we should still be able to say, "Merry Christmas.'"

Rock the vote.

First dip in the springs this year.

Rarely Asked Questions

Kramer, like what's your real name?

First ID card I ever got, I must've been about 6 years old, "Kramer Wetzel." Real name, no joke.

And no, that character on the rerun TV show? Not patterned after me.

Do you really go by "Bubba"?

Yes and no. Currently, it's in the email program, but that started as a joke, and regrettably, it's another one of those jokes that won't die. So I left it. I'll answer to just about anything, provocative, profane, profound, or provocatively profound and profane at the same time.

Why do you fish?

The world is divided into three groups, people who can count and people who can't. No, seriously, either you're a hunter or you're a gatherer. Hunting is too much work these days, and kind of messy, but I can fish right out my back door. CPR (Catch Photograph Release), much like dating, satisfies my primal urge to "hunt" without having any of the mess to deal with. Yes, it's sport, but at least it works in harmony with nature. Unlike dating, which I never figured out.

How would you feel if you were jerked out of the water with a hook in your lip?

Right, animal rights need to be observed, have you hugged a bass today? On several occasions, I've caught the exact same fish more than once in an afternoon. If the same fish comes back again and again, I can't see that I'm doing any damage, right? Besides, fish don't have hands or arms, and the easiest way to test a possible food source is to stick in the their large mouth. I caught one particular fish more than a half-dozen times in less than two weeks. Personally, I think that fish had crush on me.

We live in a time when people pay good money to have their bodies, and especially their faces, pierced. Think of it as a lip piercing for the fish.

Particular with Large Mouth Bass, I mean, if those guys ever got big enough, I'm sure they'd try to eat a boat, I can pretty much imagine one of the bass talking to the other, "Dude. Dude! Just bite, it's a rush!"

Punk-ass fish.

Are you a sexist pig?

With a nod to a certain cousin, from whom I lifted this line, yes, I am a sexist pig. The patriarchy is going to fall, but I'll still be mired in my old-fashioned and out-dated ideals.

Your horoscopes, like, you know, they don't make any sense this week.

Two-part answer, really.

Part the first:
Paid-up subscribers have quicker access, and when I recognize an e-mail address from a subscriber, I endeavor to clear up any obfuscation.

Part the second:
I generally use two charts plus anything else to help define moments when important astrological transactions are occurring, and that's the bare bones for each weekly scope. From there, I attempt to tease out the most important flavor of the moment, then handcraft a custom-fitted tale to explain how that energy might play out.

There are no absolutes.

Especially with astrology. Sometimes my metaphors and allegories might be a bit strained. But rather than pretend to be objective, I can only openly admit my prejudice. Which, as I've observed, most of the authors in my field, don't do.

While I try to offer useful tidbits, as well alternative ways of dealing with planetary influences, at least one week out of every month, your horoscope is going to be a head scratcher. Sorry about that, I can't nail it right one-hundred-per-cent of the time.

What's gotten more amusing, though, is that a number of people want to be told what to do. I suggest computer-generated, ghost-written copy from other online services for that.

If you want someone else making decisions for you, maybe you ought not be reading this material in the first place. I presuppose an ability to think for one's self. Silly me.

What's your favorite music?

While I'd like to believe that I have very diverse tastes, I tend towards three genres most of the time. "Texas Music," which is mostly localized country and/or western and/or folk/rock/blues and this material (and artists) rarely translate well out-of-state. Then there's my "techno" side, and that's what I keep on one iPod these days. Useful for keeping me awake. Finally, I've grown accustomed to some opera. My favorite is Siegfried - boy overcomes childhood adversity, slays the dragon, gets the girl, they all live happily ever after. Except for the dragon, he's still dead in act III.

Something smells fishy here.

I'm wearing the same shorts I wore last night. When I dug the camera out of my pocket, I must've accidentally wiped a little "eau de poisson" on the material. It happens.


I need some more RAQs.

Morning coffee notes
Maybe it's the lack of sleep. Maybe it's my disposition? I found this strip's message very amusing.

From the inbound mail:
> What changed about 4:00 yesterday?
> I figure it was the planets or a grumpy cloud hit Austin about
> that time.

When I looked at the chart, at that moment, it was the Sun 9 degrees of Pisces, Venus, 9 degrees of Pisces and Retrograde Mercury, 9 degrees of Pisces. It's no wonder that I over-slept and over-indulged. I can blame the planets.

(Don't try this in your home, kids. See the fine print for details.)

Two-meat Tuesday, number 13
I woke up Tuesday morning with images from a dream still filtering through my subconscious, like drip coffee through a filter.

The image was a former lover, a Sagittarius, from more than a decade ago. The scene was, like at a bank, and for some reason, I was seated behind the counter. I knew it was in Austin, like, you know, one of the banks downtown here.

The former lover walks up to the counter, and she's got two little girls in tow, both age five or six, doing whatever it is that little girls do.

Now, in the dream, I knew certain points, like, one of the little girls was a six years old, and the child belonged to the former lover. Haven't seen that ex in over a decade, do the math.

Just a strange trick of the planets, I'm sure.

More on Mercury:
Wind was up in the morning, strong and from the south east, so I opted for a flipping stick, and I was going to try working on a little fine tune to the casting skills. Using a baitcast reel isn't hard, it's the the one where the operator has to thumb the line at the right point to prevent "professional backlash," which is nothing more than a tangled mess of line.

Some days, I wonder if I've forgotten more than I know, and I was working a jig through the creek bottom, certainly not anticipating any fish, but I was definitely enjoying hitting targets, trying to get a good thirty-foot pitch going. All about the rhythm.

And I was doing so well, I was quite proud, for a few moments. Then, once again, pride goeth before the tangle.

I wound up with a nasty snarl. Eventually, I played out over half the line on the reel, maybe 50 yards or so before I got the mess untangled.

Halfway through the unknotting experience, I smiled to myself, almost a silly grin. Mercury. Retrograde. Can't fight it. So I'm sure I looked a little silly, grinning and wrestling with backlash.

I had an afternoon phone reading, and after that, a little fishing and then a quick catnap. The alarm went off. Twice. I dozed right through it. I woke up with three minutes to make a fifteen minute dash. Halfway there, I called up the client, "I'm running a little late, stuck in traffic you know," and at the same time, she was leaving me a voice mail, "We running a little late," and she really was stuck in traffic.

So I wandered into the coffee shop, and she was right behind me with a new client in tow. I'm planning on seeing Kinky at the bookstore Wednesday night, so we were discussing plans while waiting to place an order. "So we're going to the Crazy Lady before, then to the book signing, and...."

To non-Austin folks, and maybe even some of the more delicate Austin folks who never venture into a place like that, the Crazy Lady is a "gentleman's club." Or, as we say, it's a titty bar. The reason for the field trip, as I dubbed it, is the reputation that the dancers have - it's not a high-class place, at least, that's it's street rep. Or, as my friend suggested, this is third and fourth hand data, the term that was bantered about was "skanky."

A massage class was gathering to study anatomy. One of the lads overheard our conversation and wanted to know what class it was that would take a field trip to the Crazy Lady. Much hilarity ensued. I seriously doubt I'll make the field trip portion of Wednesday's schedule. No "groping for trout in a peculiar river" for me (ad lib from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure.)

Any meeting with that Libra usually ends up at Amy's. Stopped at Jo's and fetched up three triple espressos. Wandered back to Amy's and I had mine packed with Mexican Vanilla. But on the menu, just as a special for the night?

Slick Fifty - Guinness (Amy's homemade) ice cream with espresso and Kaluha

I wandered home, suitably wired. It was strange night.

The mild weather meant that I could fish a little, too.

Before midnight, the sunfish and catfish were hitting.

Foot-long Channel Cat

And a tiny "Warmouth" (sunfish)

On sale now
File under a sure sign of the End Times:
I got a bill from a department store credit card the other day, and since I've been making electronic payments, and since those payments weren't reflected in the last two statements, I was envisioning a long and nasty call to customer service to straighten out their mistake, correct the problem, and get my credit repaired. I just left envelope unopened over the weekend and I was tending to the accounting when I saw the ignored missive. Much to my happiness, they had already caught their mistake, and I was up-to-date. But what else fell into my hands? A receipt from last weekend, I bought a few items. Check out the total.


Bait cast reel & cranking stick.

New Chemical Brothers' video.

Monday night
The radio station, asa it turns out, switched format. I got the message last weekend from the jock. Off the air, I'd made comment about the jocks wearing cowboy hats.

> You said something to her about "would he mind
> wearing a cowboy hat". Well, the answer is "no
> problem"...Real 97.1 switched over today at noon and
> is now "97.1 Hank FM"...Hank plays anything country
> (as always....you're spot on the $$ with your
> predictions)

So I'm suddenly free on Monday evening. Mercury is backwards.

I stopped downtown long enough to check my mail and grab a quick cup of coffee. The shoe shine guy gave me a once over and a long eye, I was wearing sandals, and I'm hoping - doesn't look like the weather will cooperate - that I won't have on boots again until next next fall.

Bet I'll have to wear them in Ft. Worth, though, northeast Texas looks a might chilly yet.

In the Hideout, the owner (Leo) was manning the espresso machine. I had a short shot, and he asked if I was looking for a job.

"Err, eh, uh-hum, no, not really? Why?"

The story I got, if the right person asked, that person could have the job. But it would have to be the right person. Nice to know I could be the right person.

But I'd rather just do chart readings, really, it's a lot more fun. I'd hate to lose my respect for the folks who make coffee by having to be good at it myself. I've got way too much respect for those who make the stuff than to do it myself.

No bragging rights:
Two hours of work, for one little fish. At least we got to the CPR entertainment portion of the evening. (Catch Photograph Release).


Required: new Whole Foods entry
Seems like everyone is doing it, a review of the new whole foods at 6th and Lamar.

Not being one to pander to popular tastes, I was going to do a review, but if that necessitated actually setting foot inside the store? I'm not so sure I could do it.

Book People, the largest independent bookstore in Texas, Waterloo Records, Amy's Ice Cream, are all located right there. I can't recall all the details, and I'm not about to dig them up again, but the corner was empty, slated for development, then the anchor pulled out, and the place sat empty for years. Finally, Whole Foods stepped up and built a grand edifice, the true home to Whole Foods World Headquarters.

Only, I'm sort of not too impressed. Could be me.

We were staying at my folks place in Big D, some time last summer. If I recall, and I might not have the facts straight, but what I remember was my buddy's wife wanted some "pink sugar." I don't know the brand name, but whatever it was, I figured a Whole Foods, just down the street? Surely they'd have it. They didn't. They did have any number of alternative, all-natural sweeteners, but no real fake sugar. Kind of annoying help, too, if I recall.

So can I write a review of place I've not been to? Sure. In keeping with the mainstream way of doing business, I can talk about the chocolate enrobing station, a literal fountain of chocolate. Although, I'm sure that Mi Tierras in San Antonio has some better chocolate available, right over the counter. More pure. Only three ingredients, cocoa beans, cane sugar and cinnamon.

The place looks nice, and I know several folks employed there. That's the good part, I guess. But it's not like, a place where I'm going to hang out. A little too pricey.


"Whole Foods? More like 'whole paycheck,' if you ask me."

But no one did.

Got Shorty?
I think that was the name, the prequel to "Be Cool."

At one time, I had a good reputation, real street credibility, which came from the observed phenomena that I usually read the book before I saw the movie. Which ruins a lot of good books. But I've not read a lot of Elmore Leonard's canon of work. No real excuse, just haven't gotten around to it yet.

I remember "Get Shorty" as a funny film. Saw its sequel Saturday night, amidst some confusion about who was where when. Typical Mercury stuff, visiting family, didn't make the hook up, "We don't lead that European life you've got, Kramer."

So anyway, "Be Cool" has pretty much been universally slammed by the critics. I'm beginning to get this idea that if a critic, especially a local film critic, pans a film? It's probably good entertainment. I'm suggesting that typical media folks don't understand what entertainment is all about.

"Be Cool" was just cute enough without being too cute, and as always, the venue added a great depth of dimension. The food was good, but the trailers before the film? Amidst the mainstream film trailers, the Pulp Fiction trailer ran. Which was good. Or even better. Since the opening sequence in "Be Cool" was so self-referential, and preceding that with a "Pulp Fiction" trailer? The lead-in was delicious.

The movie itself was cute, funny, cute, feel-good, and had lots of guns going off. So I'm wondering, I mean, I was highly entertained, but the professional media critics all said it was a bad movie.

So I'm starting to wonder why I spend any time at all reading what the critics say. According to them I wasted money on tickets to the film. Me? I loved it. Hint: it's not like it's deep material, it's a stupid film with a bunch of half-literate jokes, all the while poking fun at itself. So it was fun. Not deep or meaningful, but who cares?

Inbound mail and blue bonnets?

In box special:
> Thanks, Kramer.
> Damn! I've been misquoting this for years:
>> Men's evil manners live in bars; their virtues
>> We pass like water.

Friday's Sank
Uno. Dos, tres. Quatro, sank?

1. Did I mention that some days, I just don't like all the paperwork that's associated with this business end of the business. I know, someone's got to do it. No one else can sign the checks.

Last month's rent on the trailer, some notice about phone service about to be terminated, just the usual.

I could pay on time, but where's the fun in that? Besides, surfing from perceived emergency to perceived emergency is more amusing, plus there's always the discovery, like, "Oh, I needed to mail them a check, last month."

2. While avoiding work I laid down a great conga groove for the weekly audio file. The funny part to me is it might not make the cut on Monday morning.

3. Carp Anglers Group (in Austin).

4. Watching, talking to CAG fisher folks, got me thinking. A group went by with the little witch in the back seat of the rowboat, hollering instructions to the dozen rowers. The back seat driver was hollering, not the group. Considering that this little section of the river passes right under Interstate 35, the main artery from, what, Laredo (y Coahuila y Mexico) to way far north, like past Oklahoma to Canada even (Canada is the northern border to Oklahoma, I think), I'm surprised that a strictly urban waterway gets such varied use.

5. Family tradition?
image[/style>A delivery person knocked on the door, and she was not-the-usual delivery driver with an Amazon box in hand.

"Thanks! But I didn't order anything...." I looked at the shipping address, left Coast, East Bay, I think, like, didn't Amazon have a shipping center there? Northern California, it's, like, right next to Canada?

Sister was just carrying forward the old family tradition of the chocolate easter bunny gift pack. There was the requisite chocolate easter bunny, but along with that, in more thoughtful consideration, there were some worms. Not really fishing worms, but I had an idea, and I popped a quick picture, just to see what it would look like. Worms for me, worms for the finned friends.

Three-way Thursday
Would that really qualify for three-part harmony?

Part the first:
I was walking along, just ambling through a parking lot, and a blue, or silver, or maybe it was red, I don't know, car, or maybe it was a truck, or perhaps it was an SUV, I don't know, anyway, the vehicle pulls to a stop in my path. Driver waves at me. Long hair, dyed black, I think, big sunglasses, window rolls down, "Hey!"

I walked behind the car because there was another vehicle turning in, pulled my shirt back on, and the other window rolls down, "Oh. I thought you were someone else."

"Yeah," I thought, "that guitar player."

Part the second:
The local delivery driver was just pulling into the Shady Acres lot as I was leaving, on that aforementioned sojourn on my quest for pork ribs. I saw him yesterday, East Austin. In the parking lot as I was leaving, and finally, a little later, downtown. He was stopped at a light, and I stepped up to the open door, "Hey, you're following me."

He's Sagittarius, too, and he quipped back, "What? You got all day to just wander around on foot?"

As a matter of fact, yes, it's where I find balance in an unbalanced world. Wouldn't be a problem if everyone just did what I old them to do. The first time. Or maybe not.

Part the third:
I'm not entirely sure, but I'm pretty sure I almost got run over by the Scorpio, previously mentioned in a horoscope.

What's worse? Remember that Mercury is backwards and confusing thought? I couldn't find the horoscope to link to it. At least, I thought I wrote about a Scorpio....

And in the news?
I had a slight, almost problematic, persistent mental reminder that "something" was happening. It's as if there was a red-alert, or maybe, just like a mental "mail alert," bouncing in a corner of my mind.

It started Sunday, as if there was something I was supposed to do, only I forgot. Really astrologically observant people would realize it was the same time Mercury moved into full apparent retrograde motion. However, that wasn't the source.

Shootings, court rulings, and then? A big explosion.

I read several news stories about the refinery explosion, down close to Houston. No verified fatalities, a few possible fatalities, and the last time I checked the story, there were 14 dead, names had not been released yet.

Brandon Jenkins, on his album, Unmended, has a perfect (sad) tune that catches the way this works, "Refinery Blues."

"My backyard is a refinery/Churning out black smoke where I can't breath..."

From one of the earlier news reports, the datum kicked out was that, that particular refinery? It pumps out three percent of the fuel used in vehicles in the US.

I toyed with the math on that, but what I came up with? Going from gallons to liters? And back? I might have this wrong, but out of every ten gallons? More that a quart of the fuel used is from there.

And that's just one location on the Oil Coast.

To make this more personal, though, that cousin? A guy who showed up a few weeks ago after many years' silence? He's "in the oil biz," as we say. What happens if he'd been on the site for something? (He works for an unrelated company, so this is hypothetical.)

Now, I'm not a journalist, nor, for that matter, do I play one on TV. So there's a not a lot of fact checking going on here. I'm just spitting out numbers and items that lodged in my brian. The same brain that kept sending me a subconscious alert that there was something that needed attention.

I did a long "Mercury is backwards who cares" wander along the eastern loop of the trail.

image[/style> I was going to describe it as "6 miles, 5 tacos," but then I ran out of stuff to count. Or stuff I wanted to count.

I passed a guy flipping a Texas-rigged chartreuse Zoom worm, and I popped the earphones out long enough to watch him land a tiny bass, the fish wasn't more than five inches long. That worm? It's seven inches long.

I detoured several times, and I stopped off at a favorite fishing spot, and while peering in the water, I could see a couple of my buddies, guarding a nest. Another place, there was a big old bass cruising the shoals, close to the dam.

These are "city fish," and if they can see you, forget trying to dangle something in front of them. Unless it's a day when they have that attitude. Which wasn't the case for me.

But that "attitude," whatever it is, I mean, I can safely attribute it to the planets. Seems like there's a lot of it going around. Then again, it might just be me.

Nota Bene:
It was a lot more like 8 miles, but who's counting?


(See if anyone recognizes the mural & location.)

More "Mercury freak-O-meter"
Subtitle: This time? It's personal.
(I guess I should trademark "Mercury freak-O-meter" but really, (tm) is too much work.)

The story starts with the way families, at least, the way my family interacts. Computer hardware used to be handed down, looking every bit like a typical patriarchal tree, where out-of-date and otherwise abandoned hardware goes from Father to first Born Male child, and from thence, on to the last in the line, Youngest Female.

I tapped the Apple website to see if the warranty was still good on an older model laptop, now in Pa Wetzel's hands. I paid for the extended warranty because, in my experience, computer hardware either fails in the first 30 days, or shortly before the extended warranty period is over. 3 years on the old Titanium, and it didn't break (freak out, really) until that 2.5 year mark. That's a lot of miles, and a solid piece of hardware.

The extended warranty got the TiBook out to a service center and back in less than a week, at no cost to me. Other than not having the CPU handy.

I passed another laptop onto Pa Wetzel, and its warranty is still in effect. He called Wednesday morning, and I assured him that the hardware was still covered. Then I logged onto Apple, to check. According to the website, all they had a record of was 90-day "toll free tech support" for two items (I'm guessing last year's second iPod, a business tool. No, really, it saved me money.) And who needs tech support on an iPod?

So I called. I had trouble speaking. I couldn't articulate the problem. When I finally got it out, I was able to confirm that the 'book was still covered and that the extended warranty was tied to the machine's serial number. Not to my address. Not to Sister's address, although, I did have to cough up her phone number.

There wasn't any level of frustration on my part, except for one area, in the whole series of information transactions: website.

Information I was attempting to get from the Apple site? Click here, click here, click here, and still, the site didn't have what I was looking for. If I can't find data on a website in under three minutes, or less, I'm like so out of there. Why I called.

Made me think of a valid question, though, I mean, I know where everything is tucked away on my site, but how is the usability? Find what you want? Quickly? Easily?

Title? London Calling.
It's a play on words, too.

The perspicacious reader will realize it's a Clash Title, right? And it's a reference to clients overseas. With the time offset, Evening calls to the astrology guy start in my morning.

Watch it with the coffee,or when aliens attack.

Computers are generating dating advice?

I'm too tired to play with graphics and layout and banging together a quick animation. However, imagine, if you will, a meter. It can be an antique oscillating scope, an older analog car gas gauge, or even a more modern LED gauge. Better yet? How about one of the "file processing" images used on computers. Whatever work. Personally, I'm thinking of a mechanically driven tachometer, where the needle covers about two-thirds of the face of the gauge. There's an orange zone, then a red zone. Ah yes, redline.

The Mercury-is-retrograde Index of freakiness is over the top. It's in the red. Gets much worse? The valves float and the motor starts to take itself apart.
And those were the calls before noon on Tuesday.

Spotlight on literature:
image[/style>Tim Dorsey was in town for a book signing, promoting his latest release, Torpedo Juice.

I'll reread the book, looking for some of the differences between the ARC and the real novel. In his brief talk and signing, Tim Dorsey noted that there was a change, another plot item added. Plus, in general, he was affable, approachable, and genuinely nice.

image[/style>The only part that bothers me so much? He looks so "normal." I must admit, his attire did win my favor. He was wearing tan slacks, Hawaiian shirt, and a tweed sports jacket. Yeah, that's a good outfit: comfort.

I took a few notes, and there was one quote, when queried about an early plot device in Florida Roadkill, "The answer? I just don't know."

I like that kind of candid honesty. He's a good speaker, and he understand his craft rather well. The added bonus is that he's able to talk about it all.

And Torpedo Juice? I still think it's a fine read. Perfect for Mercury RX. I mean, perfect.

Radio redux
I've done a ton of radio work.

Started years ago, and I've been on classic rock, country, NPR, even an old album rock format station. Plus "alternative," which sounded pretty much like hard pop to me, but what do I know?

The most difficult radio work? Morning drive time slot. Means I had to get to the station before sun-up. Now, if I was fishing, that's not a problem. But for work-related work? It was a chore.

Best memory of a morning show? Alaska. I had on everything I owned, that I'd brought to wear, long underwear, two sets of socks, boots, sweaters, thermals, jacket, scarf, hat, and so forth. I was standing in the pre-dawn parking lot, breathing smoke, icicles longer than me staring back, and the morning jock showed up in shorts. To his credit, he did have a parka on, but just shorts?

"Spring in the air, it's getting up close to 30 today!"

(That's the point where Texas freezes over and everything grinds to a halt.)

image[/style>Another morning show hostess - different town - was driving around an advertising "Hummer," one of the older models, all painted up. After the show, we'd gone out to breakfast, and she parked where everyone could see the Hum-Vee. Guys would walk up to it, then, we watched this from inside the cafe, get down on all fours to check the ground clearance.

"Looks like they are all praying to the mechanical god. Huh."

The radio program I've been doing on Monday nights has themes, or so it seems. There's usually a coherent pattern that emerges. Last Monday, seemed like it was divorce, at the 6 year (been together 7 years) then again at the 6 year mark (been together 7) and one that was "almost 14 years."

I'm not much of a fan of divorce these days. Well, to be honest, I'm not much of fan of marriage, but to each his or her own.

Why I like that one radio station so much, besides the way I'm handled? The way the jock catches on, he's a quick study. Sagittarius. I think, an "army brat," too. Loves Austin. And the wonderful Leo assistant? Works me just like I was butter in her paws.

That "quick study" Sagittarius? he's gotten to where he keeps the material fresh, and he keeps it within safe guidelines. Excellent air skills, and as an added bonus? He's gotten to the point where he can interject a dose of humor or even insight.

He had the best line the other evening. I'd steal it, and I probably will. He was addressing a caller about an issue, so this is how I remember the line, going out on the air, "What do they say in that safety talk, about he oxygen masks? If you're traveling with small children, you need to put your mask on first, then the children? Because, if you're not taken care of, you can't take care of any one else."

So I'm not getting it quite right, but I'm sure I'll use that one at some point.

The point with the numbers? 7 years, 14 years? Saturn was a point and a player in all the charts. 28-year cycle. Half of that, one-quarter? 7 & 14.

It's a pattern, and what was odd, to me, I haven't toyed with this pattern in years. I got into the "happy" relationship mode, and I started seeing fewer and fewer divorce situations. But all that work and research, years ago? All came tumbling back.

Saturn, if your interested, will only tear down something that doesn't belong. The other half of Saturn, and I can't back this up with my own research, though, I understand the theory, hard work under Saturn's influence means you'll get rewarded for those efforts - later.

Nope, I'm not up to speed on the "work hard now, see results next year" concept. But I can preach it pretty good.

One more from the road
When I unloaded the phone's camera, I found one more image that was pretty amusing, at least to me.

It's from the men's room, in the ABIA (AUS) building. From behind the security barrier, although, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find that it's a common sign in a lot of Austin's men's rooms. Politically correct, there's a diaper changing station. Not a bad idea, but then, a little reminder, like, not to walk off and leave the child there? That would never happen, right?


Final notes
There's something just weird about getting out of a new Hummer at the Midland-Odessa airport, scrambling to put down my notes while I'm still awake, then hopping a flight home.

Once home? Grab the bus into town and walk from the bus stop, planning on detouring by the bank to make a deposit, and then, as I passed one bus stop, I saw an old friend.

Eddy, the Taurus with no legs.

"No man, don't do a story about me," he once asked. Always friendly. Always upbeat. One of the people who fell through the cracks, basically living in wheelchair.

Before I made it to the bank to drop off an envelope full of money, I fished around in my shoulder bag and fetched out a twenty. I was only going to slip him a five, but the easiest cash to get to was my deposit, and I'll have to remember an adjust the books.

Eddy doesn't beg. Doesn't ask for money, doesn't have a "will work for food" sign. Last time I asked, he had a locker at the Salvation Army, and that was it.

After productive weekend, I didn't begrudge him a bit. No way to take this off the taxes as he doesn't give receipts; I doubt he's a legitimate charity, anyway.

I certainly wasn't motivated by guilt. I try not to give out money to panhandlers, but he's different. And he was smiling when he saw me. A friendly face in the sea of unknowns on a Sunday night in Austin. I was toting my shoulder bag and rolling my little suitcase, empty of paper, printer cartridges and tapes.

Slipped him $20. Because he didn't ask. And I'm sure he needs it more than me.

It's a little more than a tithe, but what goes around is surely going to come back around.

Did I mention the funny picture I got at the airport, just as I was leaving?


Happy Aries time!
Spring has sprung?

image[/style>Act I, part the first:That's a whole lot of Texas that I've seen. It's like a love letter to the Permian Basin. Non-natives? Frequently, they just don't get it.

A couple of years ago, I was driving from El Paso to Ft. Worth, and the midway point, a decent stopping point, was the Midland-Odessa area. As I pulled over, I looked at the cell phone, and the carrier I had at that time? No coverage in the Permian Basin.

This modern world shifts fast. Not only is there complete digital coverage, but there's a cell phone in every pocket, or on every hip. It's not the backward "jerkwater" town it used to be - not by any stretch of the imagination. Even using such a description does it great disservice. I'm sure some of this feeling is due to the broadest of "TV influences" wherein every aspect of life is homogenized and spit out to look the same with regional differences sanded off like little burrs that needed to be removed.

But removing those regional burrs might not be a good idea.

An oil client on Sunday reminded me of the weirdness quotient of the Permian Basin, the seat of the Texas Oil Patch, "Yeah, there really was a sign, up in Lee County, 'Dear Lord, please send us another oil boom and we'll promise not to fuck it up this time.' For real." Oil was, what? $57 last time I looked. Overheard? "One guy says it's going to $100 in the next two years." The Permian Basin, from the air? Looks like a junkie's arm, full of holes. Flying out? Active drilling rigs with lights - means they were working - on Sunday night.

Part dos:
Another idea cropped up and for years, I've been fascinated with the Trans-Pecos Region, c.f., "Zone Tail Hawk." One of Sunday's freebies reminded me of that. International art museum, down in Marfa. A chain of hotels from Marathon, through Alpine, up to Ft. Davis, Marfa, and reaching almost to Presidio, with world-class accommodations. On the letterhead of a number of the places I've stayed, I always enjoyed the tag line, "The finest hotel between San Antonio and El Paso...."

Like everyone uses that line.

Maybe I should include that in my press material, "In its time, astrofish.net was the best hotel between between San Antonio and El Paso."

(Minor detail: astrofish.net wasn't designed by the El Paso architects of Trott &c.)

Act III, part one:
I was thinking about this one, as I'd booked myself out for the last Sunday night flight back to Austin. I've done variations on a theme, a number of times, but one of the loneliest flights I ever made was one Sunday night, similar to last night, and the first third of the Southwest flight was unaccompanied minors, children of divorced parents, getting shuttled back and forth, between parents. Pre-Y2K, or whatever. Still a sight that spoke of a quiet desperation of children being freighted like court-mandated cargo, back and forth betwixt towns. Some sort of a sad statement about how relationships were going at the time. Not nearly as many on last night's flight.

Act III, part dos:
Some of these fragments are a result of Mercury being backwards, the start of Aries, or a quick Midland-Odessa dash for business.

I distinctly recall this one, as it was the old terminal at MAF, and it was me, as well as a couple other readers, wrapping up and dashing for that last Austin flight on a Sunday night. One of the women had her, I'm trying to recall, 12-year old son? Palm reader? Sounds about right. Because he was with us, we got to pre-board, back when the rules were a little looser. Since it was a crowded flight? Rankled that kid that we all got to board early on his ticket. Which, in retrospect, was one of the reasons why the rules have all been screwed down a little tighter.

I count five or six gates at the "new" Midland International Airport. Or the Midland-Odessa airport, or, as I call, by the three-letter FAA tag, MAF. Five gates, officially, with one gate divided into gate 1 and gate 1A. Whatever. It's an exceedingly nice building, with delightful access and covered parking, but I never did figure out why they built a new aiport. The old one was just fine. I suppose, they could've changed the carept. And, in fact, I think the new airport terminal building has fewer gates than the older, now gone, building.

There will be no act IV:
I'm back in Austin. That was weird flight - Gemini and Taurus seated next to me.

Fashion police & MAF
I was flipping though a recent New Yorker magazine, and I came across a funny cartoon.

A SWAT-looking vehicle and officers approach a guy on the street, "This is the fashion police. You, with the bolo tie, take it off slowly,"

I wore a bolo tie Saturday morning. So maybe I won't be setting any fashion trends.


Friday's sank
1. Celebrities. 2. Travel rigors 4. (see #2) 5. MAF net access (There will be no South By So What information in this post.)

1. Sort of a toss up, who's the bigger celebrity, the kind and gracious folks who opened their home to me, instead of the usual motel, or me, having my name in the paper last week. Bit odd, that's for sure. Being from Austin, I'm never more than 2 degrees away from a musician. Yee-haw.

2. "If I leave here tomorrow... Lord knows I can not change..."

(I had a "road list" playing, and as a joke, I'd added Freebird as the final cut. Yee-haw.)

3. On the way to the airport? Still the best deal in town, the airport shuttle, fifty cents, that's less than a dollar. There were watermelons for sale, roadside. A (I'm guessing) 1965 T-Bird, up on a trailer, also for sale. Then, in East Austin? On a portable sign outside one local taco place?

"Friday's special! No extra charge with SXSW Badge or Wristband!"

(Which may not seem funny to some, but I did see a special SXSW breakfast menu one place, identical to the regular menu, except all the items were a dollar more. Who says Austin isn't a little capitalistic? Red Austin? Maybe a purple is a better description?) Yee-haw.

4. (lost by baggage handlers)

5. Austin? WiFi is everywhere. I sometimes wander off - on purpose - with no phone on my hip, just to avoid conflicts. When I searched for WiFi in the Permian Basin area, the net revealed that there were two commercial spots, but I'm not sure my gracious hosts really want to spend an hour parked outside of the mall - while I tweak and write.

"Oh, don't worry, the house is wired for wireless."


Wherein the idea might be something along the lines of wrestling, but what prompted me was the concept lifted from another East Texas writer, about "wrestling the words to the page."

Horoscopes and artificial goals:

[/style>I was bouncing between two tasks, one was actually writing upcoming scopes, trying to keep the material as fresh as I can keep it, and the second was proofing and prepping a column. Plus doing an audio background for the weekly update. So that's three tasks, and the way I see it, they all run together. The artificial goal was the get everything wrapped before I ever left. I had a dismal day, on Wednesday, because the weather really sucked - way too cold, rainy and gray - and because I never did hit the arbitrary goal. I never quite finished the scope, never got all the disparate bits of audio to work correctly, and I didn't finish proofing an upcoming column.

The best I could come up with was the ad, stuck in the middle of last week's scopes. I also realized that it didn't quite convey what I wanted, not enough of the right words. Yes, I'm working on it. There's a Mercury Retrograde time approaching, and I expect to twiddle with web layout and work on advertising images. And write a lot more in the journal. And catch hell for uncorrected grammatical errors and typical typographic mistakes even though I'll be extra vigilant.

What I didn't do on Wednesday, though, got made up for on Thursday. Up early, words bumping into each other, nouns conjugating verbs, and when I reached the stopping point, I didn't want to stop. I wanted to keep going. But I've got to put everything on hold - Friday afternoon? Airport then MAF (designation for Midland-Odessa Airport).

File this under the Leave Us Alone category:
Being as removed as possible from mainstream anything, unless it involves real astrology or fishing, I missed this. However, I know from first-hand experience, that the town mentioned is not really normal. The waffles at the cafe downtown? State of Texas emblem in the middle. South Side Meat Market? Home to "world famous" - justifiably so - Elgin Hotlinks. Good, good sausage, especially on the grill.

I was really working on something, and I clicked on the web for a second opnion, and that one entry just made me laugh. After reading the backing story in the paper (online), though, I'm trying to recall, but I think some of the facts are wrong. Not that it matters, either, because I certainly can't come up with verifiable proof. Not that it matters, either. I wonder though, what did we call "alt-indie" music 20 years ago? Wasn't called "alt-indie" at the time, of that, I am sure. What I do recall, maybe a punk show (the old Hot Club anyone?), at the end of one two-minute song, there it was, "Freebird!"

Some of my memories, dreams and reflections may be tainted, faded with time, with pigment then added to help fill in the black and white areas.

I had to venture downtown - okay, I wanted to venture downtown - and upon arriving, wondered why I bothered. Mid-day. Suits mixed with musicians mixed with emo-looking (alt-indie) types. Just a hint, and it's not like I'm any kind of a fashion critic myself, as I tend towards comfort over style, but when groups of three are dressed exactly alike, it really doesn't speak of independence - it looks like a club.

Two more items caught my attention. Language. I don't exactly have an "ear" for harmony, or any other type of music, but I'm fair with some accents. I was listening to France French (not from Canada, excusez moi, Quebec), then something that was either German or Dutch, as I was pacing a couple of folks who were nattering along in one of those languages. At first I was sure it was German, but the lack of hard sounds made me wonder if it wasn't Dutch instead.

Another item was a (looked like a fresh print to me) Adam and the Ants white T-shirt. Which only makes me wish I signed up to as an iTunes Associate and I could link to the songs, and make three cents for every purchase. Which might offset the cost of a new fishing rod and reel.

A rod-mounted fish finder?

Another item I overheard, while I was walking home to Shady Acres?

"Dude. Dude, we like them even if we don't like them, got that?"
(Some dude I passed on the sidewalk, while he was talking into his palm, which was cupped over his ear. Might've been a phone there. Might not.)

I missed one show due to work, I had arranged for a client call, and later in the morning, I had an offer for backstage pass to see the Gourds - about the same time. Now that would've been worth the hoopla. But fun or money, which is more important?

Party on. Dude.

image[/style>Fish de jour:
I'm estimating that this feller is over a foot long. Light bite, nice fight. Almost had to tickle him to get him to take the hook. We played "tease the fisher person" for a few minutes. Now, the way the wheels in the cosmos turn, when I went down to the lake's edge to fish, I had an audience, as several neighbors were down, watching the water flow by. A couple was drinking wine, and I'm guessing, it wasn't wine from a box. Another guy was sipping on a tall Bucky cup. Sinced I just dug the earpiece - like a ball of bad ear wax - out of my ear, I didn't hear much of the chatter. The fish only started hitting after everyone left.

"There's that weird neighbor, alweays down there fishing....

quick snark

Amen, brotha.

But seriously, folks
Writing in bed? Me? I use a bed for sleep.

File under clues for the clueless:
How to be EMO.

If this weather keeps up being cold, gray and nasty? I'm going to give that "emo" thing a second look.

Some days are just slow news days.

Two-meat Tuesday, redux.
Two items, unrelated links.

This link contain sexual material of a mature type, and no one under 18, or easily offended, should click here. But you probably will, anyway. Even when I suggested not to.

Which really has nothing to do with this link, which isn't suggestive, and I'm waiting to see if this stuff works.

SXSW wrap-up.
I suppose this should be the first of two parts, and I'm wondering, can I do a wrap on something I didn't go to? I think so.

Some good films, some bad films. Some good bands, some bad bands. Lot of material was covered in the panels. Some of it was quite good. A few of the presenters weren't exactly prepared, and those participants were relying on their "rock star" status to carry the moment. Probably didn't work out as well as it could.

The "tech economy" is recovering, albeit slowly. An idea and a dream no longer works, there has to be some kind of solid business idea (plan, model) to follow. And just relying on advertising dollars, like, say, a newspaper, might not work.

Plus, with the web, it's hard to find an original thought, or, for that matter, original content.

Sporadic bits that make me smile.
From Lone Star Nation, I came across a passage quoted from President Sam Houston.

image[/style>Ah yes, Pres. Sam Houston let the Brits, twice kicked by the Yankees, know that if the US didn't want to help, maybe the Brits would, and thereby, get themselves a trading partner in the Gulf. (page 502)

I always knew I liked them folks in London for some reason.

"To have what we would have we speak not what we mean."
Shakespeare's Measure for Measure Act II. scene iv. line 118.

Or something like that.

My "on air handler" is the Leo, Angela. At the close of the program, an ad ran, something like, "Duty, honor, Leo."

I pointed out my version. Her comment?

"Well, yeah, exactly."

The cat was eating around some cat food, in other words, I could see that she was carefully not eating some of her dried food. I scooped it out of her bowl and tossed it in the lake. A few hours later?

More than two feet of catfish:
(on that Crappie pole, no less!)

(and another bass "with child")

That was fun.
My gig on Sunday morning didn't open until 11, but the boat show opened at 10, so we snuck in the back door at the "shallow water fishing expo," and wandered around for a bit.

Boats. I need a boat. The kayak guys couldn't get me interested, but that's a two-fold problem. First, I've seen fish big enough to pull around a little kayak. And second? Paddling. Manual labor. Way too much work. But maybe a pole boat? Better yet? An inner tube with a trolling motor? If only I could work out the engineering on that one.

I started working around noon, and I didn't stop until most folks were loading out. I tossed my wares in the bag and hiked home, pausing long enough to chat with some California fishermen, bragging about 7-pound bass and they did have a small carp on the stringer.

Instead of something exotic, I just munched on some leftovers I was going to use for catfish bait. And promptly fell asleep, dreaming of big fish.


The message
But first, a word from west Texas.

While I was setting up Saturday morning, I was thinking about this Friday's fish, wondering if it's the girlfriend again.

"we smudged at my place, and they couldn't find me for a week."

"This guy Wetzel, he's funny."

(Yeah, I know, funny looking, anyway.)

"You'd be a disgrace to the Bubbas." (via a Leo)

One item I saw? Work boots with inset rhinestones, don't think I've ever seen that before.

"Does the ground feel soft and squishy? No, I mean the pavement, the concrete?"

Yes, I know.
"I read the news today."

Apple won round one.

"There goes free speech!" and "I'll not buy another Apple Computer!"

Right. Do that. In an unrelated conversation, a former Apple employee here in Austin related how Apple had some of the tightest security for proprietary information. I beleive thwe term was "legendary."

As I read the article, sure, I think any person who writes on the web has a right to say what they want, but I'm also in agreement with the judge, the information was only available - prior to the leak - to individuals who knowingly signed Non Disclosure Agreements.

Two wrongs don't make a right. But if I lean to the left long enough, I wind up conservative.

The larger problem about whether it's violation of free speech? How come no one sides with Apple on this issue?

In my line of work, I operate under the idea that what goes on between me and client is confidential, and nothing short of court-ordered deposition or similar legal wrangling will get information out of me.

However, in my defense, the only records I keep are birth data, usually available to the public, and trying to get me to remember what I said to a client a few years ago? Yeah, good luck.

But the point is, someone broke an agreement, and the "free speech" trump card doesn't cover a situation like this.

Yes, I know.
Little issue at the other end of the pipe, Friday morning. The problem wasn't my end. Which made me stop and think, maybe I should go back to hand-coding each web entry. Get me close to a wireless rig, and I'm good to go.

But is that really progress? A step back for the sake of progress? How about ease of use, from my end? Unless something else breaks, I reckon I'll stick with what I've got, and blame it on those darn, meddling kids.

So as I fussed with the web site, broke down and called tech support, ascertained it wasn't me or my site that caused the trouble, or any one of the sites I set up. Since the interruption, I was having trouble getting to work on writing a scope. As I started to edit an upcoming scope, I was struck by the amount of hardcore astrological information that was packed into that one, upcoming scope. Plus, I was amazed at what was going through my mind when I was writing it, in the first place. Top that. Good way to change my attitude. Plus get a little work done.

Wasting time, I hit a fishing forum for local updates. On that forum, I laughed briefly, in true Austin fashion, one angler referred to a specific lure with a nickname, and when pressed, he finally called it a "gay blade." Which is the branded name. But his description, at first? "Alternative lifestyle blade." which amused me to no end.

On my way home, after an afternoon jaunt through downtown, I passed a guy fishing, just a little west of the SRV statue. We talked fishing and he allowed as how he had two keepers, small-mouth bass. He pulled up his stringer, and I pointed out, easy to see b y the markings, that there were "black bass," Large Mouth Bass. we swapped brags and lies, and I watched as he tossed more bait at the fish. Wished him luck. He did tell me about a catfish he'd caught here, and it was "this big," I'm guessing, a good two-feet. Must've been an ugly sucker.

Ugly fish lead to pretty fish. Caught a couple of little ones, then I reeled this old girl in. She escaped while I was fumbling with the camera, so that's as good as I can get it. Yes, it's crappie rod, so yes, it was great fun.

In the news:
Or not in the news? I can't find it. Something - including some information about me - appeared in a West Texas paper, the one in Odessa maybe?

But I couldn't find it online. Might be me and my archaic search skills.

How did I find out about it?

Voice mail clogged up with referrals. Next weekend, not this one.

(This weekend is Austin.)

Burgers with Bubba
image[/style> I wrapped another long, eastern loop of the trail, not quite retracing all my steps from Wednesday, and I added a watering stop downtown, at the tail end of the trip. Plus coffee. I was going to time myself, but my watch kept saying it was noon, and when I was 45 minutes on the trail, I realized something was wrong with the watch, obviously, I should've had on the Kermit piece instead. Then, on that final leg, I had to indulge in something to eat, roadside food as it were: a hot dog. Just a little afternoon snack to accompany an icy bucket of brown, fizzy water (Diet Dr. Pepper) and a lottery ticket. The simple pleasures in life are sometimes the best. Like the Thursday special at Sandy's, for dinner. Burger, fries, drink, $3.18 (tax included).

As we sat outside, under the darkening twilight, as day shifted to night, I pointed to the sign across the street, Palmer Event Center, Body, Mind, Soul Expo & Shallow Water Fishing Expo, both at the same venue, at the same time.

"Dude, it's like, you're kind of a place! New age and fishing, does it get an better?"

Yes, well, I'll be sitting in a booth at one, wondering if I'll make enough to wander over to the other and buy a new fishing pole.

The dinner chatter detoured into computer talk. He talked ab out getting an iPod. I told him my iPod went to 11.

No reaction.

"I worked on that joke all day long," I pleaded.

"Sounds like you wasted a whole day," he deadpanned.

Applied astrology & fishing?
Thursday morning, the Sun was at twenty degrees of Pisces, and at six in the morning, so was the Moon. Dark of the Moon and the New Moon are excellent times to start something new. Give it a little extra kick to get a good start. What this astrology stuff is all about, how to time an event to the best of the advantage of the end user.

With the phase of the moon, there's about a 24-hour, maybe a little longer, window for fishing. Optimal fishing. No just good, but potentially excellent fishing. From guessing at the local weather patterns, though, I'm figuring most of the fish have a temporary case of lockjaw. Might ease up after the weekend. Maybe before, too, but I'll be working so I can't test the theory. Although, as I've tracked results, it does seem to work. Sometimes.

Didn't much matter, not Thursday night. I had a chance to fish some after dinner. One tiny perch, but a couple of bigger boys and girls were lurking nearby.

And the point to fishing under a benevolent influence? Means that I hope to fish a lot more, during the next 28 days, that lunar cycle. Set a good impression.

Now for musical portion of the entry?
We should ask the question, is writing on a website good for employees and employers? Some folks think so.

Incoming mail
Just what the inbox generates on any given day, this one is in two parts.

Incoming part one:
Round a-bout, 3/10/05 11:53 AM, ya'll said:
> Just ran across your "SXSW Guidelines for tourists" post (via the Austin
> bloggers meta-blog) and wanted to offer a hearty "Amen!". Great advice for
> out-of-towners and great, prickly humor for the locals. (I especially
> appreciated the little comic barbs, a la "What to bring? Black band
> T-shirts. The more obscure the band, the better." So true! The
> "indier-than-thou" t-shirt war is always waging during SXSW!) . Anyway,
> thanks for the mid-morning smile.

Incoming part two:
Round a-bout, 3/10/05 4:09 PM, ya'll "john williams" JJwms@webtv.net said:
> There is something wrong with your site, I think it lacks true astrology. So
> what are you playing GAMES with words and the stars. Im doing some real
> fishing for a better site reguarding Astrology. Your site is really bad and
> needs attention, so work on it. Ill check back on your progress in a month,
> good luck... JW

My reply?

"Check back in a month, I'll work on it." (verbatim)

In the first note, I exchanged an anecdote about part of the source for the guide: a guy nicknamed Bubba (and too much tequila.)

In the second note, all I did was a reply nicely. That's it. No more, no less, no pissing match.

Let go back to the start, I've got over a decade of archives on the site, some it still in bad html format, but the text is there, replete with original errors. When I started, I didn't know what I was doing. I might still not know exactly what it is, but I've been doing it for over a decade. On the web since 1994. Continuously and uninterrupted, since then.

A few years back, I encountered a term that summed it up pretty good, "Oracular Astrology," and it's not my term, but it fits about as good as anything.

The position of the planets is an absolute. Plain, old fashioned hard science. Basic physics. The interpretation of the meaning of the location? That's art.

I was thinking while I was showering, it reminded me of my own mother, one her sardonic Scorpio criticisms, "I don't want to know about fish, I want to be told what to do."

If that doesn't generate a laugh, I don't know what will, telling a Scorpio what to do.

And according to some, it's a valid point. But I can't tell you how to live your life. The planets lend influences, but the outcome of that influence is up to the individual.

Now, back to the e-mail analysis, Web TV? If that's true, then what the sender probably saw was this.

What amused me, and of course, points to the problem of interpretation, and a lack of investigation, was that the Pisces scope, at the top, could be open to that very criticism. Although, one Pisces did let me know how right I was. More amusing, just one sign below? Aries? The way I read it - and I wrote it - shows actual astrology in place.

I was a bit peeved at first, but as I dangled a worm in the lake, I grew more amused.

Life is like a poker game, it's not always about what cards you're holding, sometimes, it's about how you play what you've got in your hand.

Rusting in Peace?

image[/style>Long day on the trail did well over seven miles, looping down to the eastern terminus of the trail, scooting across the damn. Seems like forever since I've done a long hike on the east side. Stopped off for some enchiladas, and took the north side of the trail back through downtown.

Sun was out and the wind was from the north, cold, yet warm. Deep in East Austin, I kept catching a spring-like fragrance on the breeze, and I couldn't identify it. The aroma haunted me. It was like fresh-cut grass, only different. Eventually, I figured it out.

Wild onions.

I'm not a hundred percent sure about the plant, but as I recall, I've detected this smell before. It's sweet, in a spicy way, and redolent of verdant and pregnant earth. It's spring time. Seems a little late, to me, but I finally saw a single bluebonnet. One. That's it. I'm used to seeing the whole side a freeway embankment covered with these guys. One.

In a state agency's parking lot, as I was taking a long-cut to get someplace, I found that bumper sticker again, and I hope I got a better picture of it.

"Have you hugged a goat today?"

Big deal? I'm glad spring is here. I did a load of laundry, and while it was all on the wash cycle, I dropped a few worms in the river. Score? A half-dozen crappie. But no girlfriend.

Every year, about this time, there's previously alluded to sxsw, the Carp Fishing Tournament (brings new meaning to Carp Diem), the shallow water fishing expo, rodeo, some state-wide college athletics, and best (or worst) of all? The Heart of Texas Regatta. See, I have this idea, and it might could work.

One of those long boats with about a dozen girls pulling on the oars? I'll be the guy in the back, giving commands. I figure I can spider-web down-rig about three trolling lines, one port, one starboard, and one straight up and down.

I know, you're thinking, "sexist pig," and sure, that may be true, but after watching one boat, the little slave-driver in the back was banging on the side of the craft, hollering instructions through a bull horn, and counting cadence to a quick eight-beat.

I'd hate to be that last crew member, about three feet away from the driver.

Since I have no rhythm, it would be a three-four beat. Much easier on the crew. And since I would be facing backwards, I most certainly wouldn't - I couldn't - since I'd be watching the fishing lines be staring at the girls' breasts.

Besides, I figure I know the lake well enough, I could steer perfectly well without having to look to see where we were going.

I just need to boat, and about dozen volunteers. If I package it right though, it could be a great astrology experiment, you know, one of each sign? Plus there's the health benefits of rowing. I wouldn't have to charge them too much to be on the crew.

We'd stay out of the lanes of nautical traffic, too, "Over to the south bank, cut in and head for that creek."

"Whoa, slow down girls, it's a big fish!"

(My mind really shouldn't be allowed out at night, not without adult supervision.)

Top of the charts!
So I hadn't really swilled enough coffee, but I was clicking through on a news item, At the top of the Blogdex index, in that coveted #1 spot?

I took a screen shot, for posterity's sake.

Two-meat Tuesday
I was serving the cat some breakfast, "beef tips in gravy" for her, cheap coffee for me.

The cat's dietary concerns are directly reflected in her litter boxes, one inside, one outside. The content of the litter boxes? Much like some media outlets.

R. Crumb interview, which only points to the fact that it's a fine line between artistic brilliance and madness

I love the British Press, "It's like the empire strikes back," (closing quote).

And while I'm loving British Press, I'm also loving this local commentary on Austin's daily source for dubious news.

I buy a newspaper off the rack about once a week, something to peruse while I munch. I much prefer the Dallas Morning News, or, in a pinch, the Houston Chronicle over any of the Austin papers, especially the local daily. I know some reporters here, and I respect their work, but the overall tone - and more important - content? In the Austin daily? Are you kidding me? At least with the Dallas paper, I know what I'm getting, a right-wing mouthpiece who is not afraid to admit to a non-liberal bias. Fact-checked, properly edited, and at least I know where they're coming from, "Oh those wacky folks down in Austin...." (I wonder if they are referencing the state's politics?)

In Tuesday's Dallas Morning News, there was an article about a hitman facing execution barring last-minute wranglings, which seemed unlikely. One dangling modifier in the article that negates the "well-edited" comment, but at the close of the article, it did note that there seemed to be a degree of inequity. The guilty killer was hired by a guy who was hired by another guy who was hired by a wife who was being cheated on by her husband and the victim. The wife hired a killer, and for $1,500 he did the deed, in a rather gruesome fashion. The wife who hired the killer? She jumped bail - all the way to France, and she was returned to face trial, only after a plea agreement that the prosecution wouldn't seek the death penalty.

image[/style>Ah, Dallas, such a wicked place. Did I mention the pork ribs were stupendous Tuesday afternoon?

I culled my notes from the last few years, and I pieced together some South By South West suggestions. Then I found a better local guide. I hope there's more of this: SXSW guide.

As I pointed my feet down the trail, I realized it was an afternoon that warranted an extended hike that included Amy's and Jo's. On my way, I was thinking about items that will not appear in horoscopes. I also realized that the first of the SXSW folks are filtering into town. This year's uniform? Jeans, black or faded blue, black T, maybe a jacket or sweater, studded belts, and shoulder bags for either gender.

I've got plug work, albeit briefly, in Austin? This weekend? Want to avoid badge & wristband crowds? Try this for a pleasant, new-age change.

The cloudless morning warmed up and weather inched up from the south. For the purpose of fishing, I welcomed the cloud cover. The fish enjoyed a nice meal.

image[/style> Just what I always wanted! A genuine watch with a faceplate that says, "Best spot on earth" and the arrow points to Kermit, TX! This is some exciting stuff! I think I'll put it on and never take it off! (Thanks, honey. How did you ever know it's just what I wanted?)

Kermit, Texas is down in that little corner, like, close to El Paso, or Midland-Odessa, but not too close. The little southeast corner of New Mexico. That's where Kermit is. I can just imagine a blank stare from folks not familiar with the local geography, so, I'd point out that it's not far from Wink, TX. You do know where that is?

Fractured Monday
Just a lot of nothing, so it seemed.

Added this:
To the bottom of the main page. Don't know how long it will last there. Didn't add too much weight, though, so that's a good thing.

Part of the fracture?
Fired for blogging?

Not like I can fire myself, although, some days, that's not a bad idea.

Unrelated vinyl notes:
Velvet Underground original?

Noon notes:
Mid-day hike with the Red Headed Capricorn, and she had much to say. She was patient, though, it's suprising what a little bit of good pumpkin bread will buy in terms of peace. I did take time to note that it looks like the local bass have spawned, seemed to be some fry in the water.

Not that it matters, either, but I did catch me a mess of fish before the radio program.
But not the girlfriend. However, I've got an old gold earring, and I'm putting that on the girlfriend.

First bass, second bass, then a Virgo neighbor watched me get two little sunfish, then a last baby bass. Not exactly trophy fish, but for a Monday afternoon?

I got to reuse the audio message for this week, in part, as the intro to the radio spot. Too bad it's going out to some place far, far away.

I forget what I was looking for - happens a lot with web "research" - but I did stumble onto this page. Don't think I'll win anything with my Monday fish. March 25? St. Dysmas Day - patron saint of thieves.

And that leads a single conclusion about theft. I still like my hunting analogy better - I just never wrapped it all up so neat and clean.

A colophon?
A frequent critique suggested that there was a missing page from the web site. A bio. A short "about" page, something linked from the web diary.

Plus tools used. The "I love my (insert software's title here)" bit.

Bio? It was written by an editor, and it's still is on the site. Oddly enough, the title to the link is, "About Kramer."

I don 't think the bio's been updated in half a dozen years. Might need to be spell-checked, for all I know.

The other stuff? It's done on a Macintosh computer. I hand-coded the first site, and there are still bits of the original ASCII floating around on the site some where.

The scopes are served automatically at midnight, once a week, with a bit of Greg's nifty programming. About three lines of code that delivered what was promised so many years ago.

image[/style>Prior to Y2K, the web log was hand coded and uploaded each day. Tedious, and I figured I needed a change after a trip with no phone access, just web access. So the back end of the web diary has migrated from Grey Matter to pMachine and finally, on to Expression Engine. If you ask me, and no one did, the name change really doesn't matter, it's still the same type of motor under the hood. No, it's not the same type of motor, pMachine is a solid in-line six cylinder, and EE is a V-8.

After years with one serving company, I did a couple of client sites on Fatcow.com, and I liked the service. A merger and buy-out opened a door for me to seek a new server, and I'm glad I made the switch.

Other hardware pieces? I've got a cheap digital camera, and the way the Apple software works, I can plug in just about any camera - even the phone - and grab the digital images from that. I do little, if any, image editing these days - way too labor intensive. Maybe crop a shot, but that's about it, and resize images for web work.

I had headshots from the last decade, all part of a media kit. Old news, though, if you ask me. But no one did.

For over year now, the weekly scope is accompanied by an audio file, served up in mp3 format. On a whim, I bought a copy of Apple's GarageBand, and I accidentally recorded myself. So once a week, I piece together a recording about my take on the weekly planet influence. I didn't save the first year because the sound files were huge, but this year, I'm hoping to have the whole batch on file for myself.

That's the site's colophon, I'm guessing, sort of a postscript.

I don't get it
The sad part? I really do get it. Went fishing.

The water was boiling with fish, but these aren't you average, everyday bass. Oh no, these are wily, "I've been on the web before" bass.

image[/style>Smart bass.

"I threw everything in the tackle box at them," my buddy was saying.

Me? I got a nice one. I was hoping it would happen just a little earlier, and maybe I'll get another shot some time, since my favorite picture is still the pre-dawn shot of me with a little feller. The running light of the boat, still visible in the background, too cool.

Almost, but not quite. On the lake by 6:30, off around 11:00, couple of fish, couple of happy guys, bellies full of BBQ, life is good.

I hit the trailer, and had much to attend to; however, I passed right out. In fish clothes and all. Woke up, showered up, cleaned up, and did a quick couple of miles downtown. Made it back to Shady Acres right before the rain started to dribble in earnest.

Pictures will be up when they turn out.

Unrelated web tweaks:
I got an email last night, complaining about the way the site was behaving. Check the log file, Netscape IV. So on a Saturday night, I was busy checking code. Again. It's an exciting life.

Website adjustments & more
Like many aspects of my life, I don't have rhyme or reason as to why this occurred when it did, but I was making some adjustments to the website, based on traffic patterns and actualized yield.

Last quarter moon, in part, the results of a loophole in some code, exploited last Sunday night, was some of the problem, and poking through the Amazon reports gave me valued insight into consumer behavior.

image[/style>I reserve the right to change any of the layout, but what the reports indicated was that the Amazon banners were garnering no commission sales. Which doesn't bother me too much, but it does mean that the banners are getting removed until a time when I feel like putting them back.

Almost sorry to see them go, plus, they were kind enough to pay for their own bandwidth, and what it works out to, they should. After all, the site only makes a commission when a purchase is made. That's a lot of free exposure for someone else's brand.

Which is the problem with "pay for click" advertising in the first place.

Webcam notes:
On the trailer's kitty cam, I had one of those embarrassing moments. The cat was comfortably asleep on the futon, so I let the camera run, unattended, and when I hopped out of the shower, I grabbed something from the desk, and I broke my own vow about not appearing on the cam naked. There was one shot, and it's long since rolled over, of my naked cheeks. Maybe there's a future in film?

I seriously doubt it.

File this under the "you still don't get it" department:
It's part of the battle about "freedom of speech" and "blogger's rights" versus big, nasty computer manufacturers. Somebody leaked information - which was clearly stipulated in an NDA - and all that nasty, big company is doing is trying to seal the loophole.

"Hell, I'm tired of waiting, if they won't come to the salt lick, get the natives to beat the bushes."

I've got an (way-out-of-date) press badge. Issued by the department of public safety. Even got my finger prints. These days, I carry it back-to-back with my minister card. Both are about as useful. Useful as what? Insert your own witticism here.

Gone fishing?
There's got to be place in the world for someone who can try and tie modern abstract art into bass fishing in Central Texas. The thumbnail of that image, rendered a little smaller, evoked a strong Mondrian type of feel. Could just be me, though.

I was trying to avoid an afternoon nap so I could get to bed early so I could get up early and fish. I got to toying with a formating option, and I had to have some kind of text to work with, so I snagged the latin filler. What generated the idea in the first place? I passed that church, and they didn't have a particularly good sign up, but I did have a file copy of one of the more engaging images.

Tweak-end & Lorum Ipsum
(Made me think about this album.) Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Mauris pretium. Maecenas viverra, magna eget sodales gravida, leo metus pellentesque tellus, ac feugiat ante magna eu sem.

image[/style>Praesent et sapien ac lorem tempor rutrum. Etiam semper magna quis magna. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nullam mollis odio eget ante. Nunc blandit tellus sit amet nisl semper vulputate. Nunc vel diam. In blandit, massa viverra aliquet lacinia, libero ligula facilisis ligula, sit amet tincidunt est dui id purus. Sed id libero in nunc congue ullamcorper. Sed eget tortor. Donec fringilla. Phasellus quis nisl eget elit commodo ultrices. In dui. Nunc a neque. Fusce porta egestas purus. Donec tincidunt. Integer lacinia, orci quis tincidunt sodales, odio pede volutpat mauris, id gravida nisl odio sit amet nulla. Nulla molestie dolor sed leo.

Aliquam ac eros. Aliquam nonummy molestie arcu. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Mauris tincidunt. Mauris diam. Nulla lobortis eleifend mauris. Ut ut eros. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Curabitur ultricies ullamcorper mi. Duis cursus nisl. Integer ut dui.

cam[/style> Donec rutrum tortor. Donec ac nunc. Quisque rhoncus neque in felis. Vestibulum viverra. Nulla rutrum ipsum id eros luctus auctor. Nulla sapien dui, iaculis et, scelerisque eu, vestibulum eget, elit. Integer porttitor neque nec nisl. Curabitur magna metus, pretium a, molestie nec, congue nec, sem. Donec faucibus, ante eget hendrerit pretium, lacus pede molestie ligula, eu convallis justo velit et mauris. Fusce condimentum, ante eu elementum facilisis, lacus diam fringilla augue, vel vestibulum massa ipsum in elit. Nunc eget elit. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; In non dolor elementum purus facilisis venenatis. Ut porttitor. Maecenas augue risus, aliquet ac, ultrices sit amet, pellentesque non, nisl. Donec magna nibh, fermentum sed, faucibus vitae, tincidunt sed, tellus. Sed varius pede vel turpis. Aliquam venenatis, urna id feugiat elementum, magna ante malesuada turpis, et convallis nulla ligula sodales nulla. Donec quis nibh. Praesent mattis libero at dolor.

image[/style>Suspendisse et lorem eget wisi imperdiet euismod. Phasellus euismod quam vitae velit. Praesent ipsum enim, adipiscing vulputate, facilisis in, adipiscing in, lacus. Sed vel tortor. Cras pellentesque. Quisque in libero. Morbi porttitor interdum wisi. Phasellus facilisis sem eleifend felis. Morbi lacinia. Mauris in justo. Nam felis. Nunc eleifend, nunc ut cursus tristique, felis erat porttitor diam, eget facilisis ante risus a tellus. Aliquam at orci non diam sagittis condimentum. Mauris condimentum lobortis odio. Maecenas quis massa.

More noise
Some days, I can get a coherent narrative thread, a single elements, or, at the very least, several common elements that work together. Alas, Thursday, there were no common threads.

At the latest addition to the Alamo Draft House family, the new South Lamar location, one of the before-movie clips was "This is Radio Clash." The original video.

Link leading to link to link, finally got me here. The author's comment about irony and the 90s? Couldn't be better put.

At the Alamo, with Steph, she reminded me that we'd seen Purple Rain together, last winter.

I picked a up a voice mail, "Hey, Kramer, do you mind talking to this reporter?"

Not all.

A reporter from a paper in Odessa, TX. Which means, I had to modify my comments. I usually refer to the area as either the oil patch, the Permian Basin (its geological name), MAF (Midland Air Force - the airport) or, most commonly, the Midland-Odessa area. But like Dallas and Ft. Worth, there's a huge internecine rivalry that goes on.

I don't know what I said, but I did talk to a Leo. I hope it was all good.

Cool title;
Major Internet Bodies.

Not cool:
[code>This site is certified 43% EVIL by the Gematriculator[/code>

[code>This site is certified 57% GOOD by the Gematriculator[/code>

Weather permitting:
I'll go fishing Saturday morning.

Mildly engaging
On some occasions, in the voyage of self-discovery, it's the simplest of revelations that make all the difference.

Yesterday morning, actually, the night before, I toyed with another banner, sticker idea. I whipped up the first draft of a graphic, then went to sleep.

Wednesday morning, when I should've been proof-reading the scopes, I worked with a code sample, and then I actually wrote code from scratch. Not much, just a few characters, but the result pleased me as I learned a whole new way to deal with a situation.

Hardcore coders will laugh. So what? To me, web markup language is just like typesetting code I used, "back in the day." Yeah buddy, we had to bang two rocks together to make binary.

So it wasn't a huge step, but the littlest of creative endeavors, no matter what the source, can be pleasing.

Unrelated musical note:
I was old school, I suppose.

I picked up my treasured and hallowed copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and re-read it. I won't link to the latest new copy because I feel that the best copy of the text to have is one of the older ones, back when the author was still on this terrestrial plane. Used book with no movie tie-ins.

(It's not that I don't want Warner Books to make money, or that I don't like Johnny Depp, it's just that this is sacred text, and it shouldn't be profaned, or blasphemed with marketing.)

I found one passage that did incite a minor brain riot. It's about the North Star Coffee Lounge:

"The North Star Coffee Lounge seemed like a fairly safe haven from our storms. There are some you go into-in this line of work-that you know will be heavy. The details don't matter. All you know, for sure, is that your brain starts humming with brutal vibes as you approach the front door. Something wild and evil is about to happen; and it's going to involve you.

"But there was nothing in the atmosphere of the North Star to put me on my guard."

(Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. NY: Random House, 1972. Pages 157-8.)

It's a good title for a web journal. It's a good introduction. It's a good masthead. And it's way too much work to change any of my site for that.

But one little passage triggered that train of thought.

Wednesday night?
New theater. The Alamo - South Lamar location.

I wonder if they picked this date for a special reason?

The last time I peeked, the building was a shell, barely an exoskeleton of brick. It's nicely finished out, but there was still that aromatic blend of spicy food and wet paint. To be sure, it's that pleasant blend of eccentric and movie, done up with a modern flair, like stadium seating.

I was with Steph and her ex, a Taurus of redoubtable ability. Whoever did the marketing for the special evening hit the target square in the center.

Libra & Gemini from Amy's. Sagittarius & Cancer plus one from Jo's. A whole crew from Bouldin. Everyone who matters.

It was an invite-only deal, and I was guest of a guest of a friend. Still got in for a buck. Still had a ton of typical Alamo Draft House fare, dollar a pop. Plus stadium seating. Plus some crowd interaction. And a Leo server who couldn't be beat. My espresso was properly creamy, the pizza was piping, and the movie was suitably weird. The Taurus made one or two comments, sotto voce, and one of them garnered a laugh from the full house, at the end of a seduction scene, he said something about, "This is why I like seventies movies."

Snickers all around.

I'd say that the new Alamo Draft House (Lamar) is a perfect example of how old Austin and new Austin are compatible. Some mainstream material, but then, some rather bizarre programming as well.

I had to check the ticket stub, we saw Eliot Gould in a 1970s-era film called "Silent Partner."

The final note, when I checked, and I'm not even sure what this one means, all I had written down?

"Squeal for me."

Steal this code?



If you don't know anything about code, just copy and paste. If you do understand some of it, then you'll see that the image itself is hosted on my server and you won't be burning any additional bandwidth to show the tag.

Top one links to the main site, the other two link right here to the web diary.

Almost unrelated:
Disclaimer that's as well-put as mine.

Two-meat Tuesday, part dos.
Caught an image, and I wasn't sure if it would translate well, a lady bug and a flower.

And I had coffee with Peggy in the middle of the afternoon. She showed me her new office. I was amused by the door tag, a simple post-it note.


Something that seems so typically "Austin," in that it doesn't say, but scream, "This is important."

Being too broke this week, or this day anyway, I ambled on homeward, and set out to fish. I tried to time it right, as I had some trout bait I wanted to try. Rigged up the crappie pole, and went to work.

By the time I was done, I was busy humming a tune of my own making, something that goes a little like this, "My girlfriend's back and there's gonna be trouble (some refrain goes here)," because she's back, along with a boyfriend. And look at that mouth on the girl!

SXSW Guidelines for tourists
"South By South West" (henceforth sxsw) is an annual conference held in Austin during our glorious spring time. To some folks, it's a great escape. Consider, though, that for some of us, its presence also a great burden. As one of my friends, oddly enough, his name is Bubba, once said, "Come. Bring lots of money. Leave it here. Then go home."

He then muttered some epithet about "damn yankees," but this one lad, to him, a "yankee" could be anyone from the northern suburbs. Places like Dallas, New York and Canada are too far north for him the grasp the very concept.

Uno: What to bring?
Black band T-shirts. The more obscure the band, the better. For sxsw interactive path folks, the newest handheld plus a Mac PowerBook with built in WiFi. Points will be awarded for folks with their own lanyards for badges. Or lanyards with "all access" badges from more interesting venues.

Weather in the early spring in Central Texas tends towards mellow, but Texas weather is a fickle mistress. A pair of shorts as well as black jeans and a warm jacket is probably a good idea. Make sure that the jacket will drape over the tool belt, very much like the original Batman's utility belt. By the time you strap on a phone or two, an iPod, a handheld, and a pager, you're going to look like that comic book character. Consider that you need all of this hardware to set you apart from the rest of the crowd, and the newer the tool, the easier it is to gain access.

Remember the "two-drink minimum"? Some places will have a "two-phone minimum."

Dos: Where to stay?
Hey, if you don't have reservations by now? I'd suggest the Astro Motel - in Waco. It's only about 100 miles north of here, you can make that in less than an hour, every day. Otherwise, the town is full up. Rodeo, college sports, and yourself, the sxsw crowd.

Tres: the buzz?
It's too early but with over a thousand bands, I'm sure some buzz will point you in the direction of the next greatest thing. Listen to other, similarly clad folks about what venues and bands are a "must."

Parties, those are the big thing. The best of the parties are the after-party parties.

Numero Four: Where to eat?
If an army marches on its stomach, then provisions are important. For early morning or after-hours nosh, hit Magnolia Cafe (two convenient locations) or Kerby Lane, again several convenient locations. During daylight hours, hit the east side of town for good food, relatively cheap, Vivo, Muellers BBQ, and especially Mi Madres, just a little east of the University and the big freeway, on Manor road.

Green Mesquite for BBQ. Ain't great, but it ain't bad, and they have free wireless. As does "El Sol y La Luna" (South Congress). For that matter, just about every place has free wireless. Only a nebbish out of town visitor will drink Starbucks and pay for wireless access.

I'd list good coffee spots with free wireless, but then, we don't want places like Little City, Halcyon, The Hideout, Bouldin Creek Caffeine Dealer, Jo's, Ruta Maya, BookPeople, Austin Java, and so forth overrun with black-clad, cell-phone clutching tourists using all our bandwidth.

Numero Five: language barriers and definitions.
This is Austin. The local mantra is "keep Austin weird." Austin is full of people too weird to live in Texas but too Texan to live outside of Texas. The local language has evolved into its own form. These are a couple of pointers on how to pronounce certain items.

"The University." It's the University of Texas, UT - Austin.

Manor Road. Pronounced May-noor. Don't ask why, no one can explain it. Used to lead to the town of MAY-noor. It's a good street to find a place to eat Migas.

Migas. This is a dish that varies from location to location, but basically, it's Tex-Mex. Scrambled eggs with onions, peppers and corn-chips. Maybe cheese, maybe hash-brown potatoes, maybe a lot of stuff. Maybe just eggs, chips, some seasoning, check the menu in each place. Usually served with a tortilla (whole wheat tortillas are available) and slathered in hot sauce.

Manchaca Road. Pronounced MAN-check. The only reason I'd suggest knowing this one is eventually lead to the Cherry Creek Catfish Parlor, worthy of a visit. Whatever you order, make sure you get some hush puppies.

"Ya'll." Pronounced YAWL. Second person, singular. Second person plural is "All of Ya'll."

Burnet Road. Pronounced BURN-it. Only reason to mention it is Curra's Grill up yonder.

Guero's. Pronounced GWAIR-o's. Good food. Really, a must for the out-of-town visitor. Expect a two-hour wait, unless you have a black wristband.

First Street. First Street runs basically east and west north of the river and then it turns south on the Drake Bridge, which is nominally called the First Street Bridge. South First is a good place to get a tattoo and enjoy much fine local cuisine. Not that the two are related. Spanish is optional but highly recommended.

Chuy's. Pronounced Chewy's. Barton Springs Road, the first of many. Still a great place for over-wrought tourists. Drink the Margarita's. Lots of them. Tip big.

Guadalupe. Pronounced GWAD-a-loop. Despite its obviously spanish origins, the local dialect has dropped the final vowel. The street itself, Guadalupe, where it runs along the western edge of the University, is called "The Drag." Just a little south of there, is Texas Chili Parlor. Also recommended. Actually, highly recommended. Yeah, try some of the "triple-x" chili. If you're man enough.

Numero Six: wristbands & badges.
There will be a new all-black wristband this year. It will have the letters, in gold, DFWMIL (Don't Fuck With Me I'm Local) on it. It's supposed to get us locals past the lines of badge toting, cell-phone talking, laptop-carrying tourists. You can ask us for directions. We can even clue you in on local habits and venues worthy of attendance. Don't count on black-wristbands folks being up-to-the-minute on out-of-town bands. We might not care.

Numero Seven: tipping.
As a tourist, you might be alarmed to see a tip jar in a number of locations that seem incongruent with tipping. The cashier at the bookstore. The bank teller. Most coffee shops. While it's not absolutely required, I'd suggest that you tip. Tip big. That cup of coffee? Leave them a buck. You're interrupting the poetry that the clerk was working on, and by tipping, you might be remembered next year when that aspiring musician is on stage. Or better yet, it could lead to a brilliant suggestion of way to beat the thronging minions. 20% is the minimum. 50% is a little better. Good tipping will forge alliances that will open doors even if you don't have a black wristband.

Donate via PayPal

Forgot to mention other restaurants like Rosita's Al Pastor (East Riverside) Janitzio (East Riverside, close to the Youth Hostel), or Freddie's (next to Jovita's, South First Street).

Two-Meat Tuesday, part uno
Family and digital graffiti.

Sunday afternoon, gorgeous day, beautiful woman, party to attend, and I was meandering through a store called Target. Voice mail buzzed. It was a cousin, one who is very close to me in age and demeanor, as well as hair longer than mine, and he was thinking about stopping by to see me.

I haven't seen him since the family was together a few years ago. I hastily rearranged my schedule, and we spent part of the afternoon, out under the awning of a local coffee shop, sipping ice tea and other beverages.

Not that size is important, but he was telling tales about his children, a 12-year old daughter who is five-foot, nine inches and still growing.

"Old wives' tale about taking their size at age two? According to that, she'll be 6-foot-four."

Cousin (Virgo) left, home to Planet Houston.

Then, after going by that sweet Pisces for her birthday party, I came home to fish.

Fed a lot of fish, caught one. Then I checked the web page, and in under 15 minutes, I corrected a little problem.

I'd left a slightly insecure administrative utility in a virtually unused directory, and that was discovered by someone with a purported UK address.

The perps just changed the index file, didn't get any data (nothing worth keeping - must've been a disappointing hack), and when I started changing passwords via secure channels, I screwed up more stuff than the break-in. Plus frustration.

Copied the digital graffiti, saved the "fingerprints," and I took care of my little administrative leak. Only took about 12 hours. Last day of the month. Too bad it means I have to monitor the site more closely for a while.

Unrelated image:



How I wish I'd moved to an Apple server, especially after Sunday night's minor annoyance.

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

I''ve got a cousin who lives on Planet Houston. Sunday afternoon, I retrieved a voice mail from him, he was down in San Marcos, and he was heading back via a sort stop in Autin, if I was available.

Or hacked off?
Yeah, that's just cute. Got hacked at 7:45 PM last night and didn't get it corrected until later. I was fishing. Bummer. Isn't that cute? The good news was nothing was compromised - at all. Snuck in under a security hole in the old web log software, and that left a minor imprint. Got a file of everything, the only problem is correcting all that's been trashed.

The Wal-Mart Factor GNN's take on the Wal-Mart rejection story.

Related tales, and I wish IO could find that pickle story.... the one about the three-gallon jug of pickles Wal-Mart requested, and how that drove the pickle producer to financial ruin.

Rain date
When the weather reports "50% chance of showers" I'm figuring it will be nice enough to fish.

I got that 4:00 AM call, "Dude, thunderstorms."

Just because water is a natural conductor for electricity, and waving a fishing pole around is tempting fate? Be my guess.

So, I was up before dawn, still in warm flannel PJs, and I clicked through to an item on the web. Which led to a little serendipitous work. I tweaked on three client sites. Corrected a typo. Toyed with ideas and presentation. All before the sun ever rose. Productive morning.

Too bad, I had special set-up rigged just for the hot water outlet by the power plant, a couple of Bass Assassins, doubled up on a throwing rig, personally guaranteed to catch fish. It was a thought, anyway.

Friday's quick take
"Shannon" the Leo is trying to kill me. I mean, with kindness, but nonetheless.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Nature's nuclear reactor. And futhermore: I was chatting with a pair of favored baristas, and one of them is a Leo. I have no romantic interest in this particular Leo, I just remember this week's Leo Scope and I remember that this particular Leo had a big hand in my moment of inspiration. Besides, I hadn't seen her in a few weeks, and I thought the new job - she looked slimmer.

I'm a guy. I'm doubly cursed because I'm also a foot-in-mouth Sagittarius. So I was trying to be diplomatic, and I was making an effort to say it in a nice way. Over a busy counter. I didn't succeed. Not that I'd let it bother me. I was trying to corral that terrible "right-word, wrong-time" ability I have. I suppose, it's better to err on the side of caution. Sometimes. Especially with the Leo named Shannon.

Hype, dreams & fears
Once again, I've written and erased a hefty amount of material that deals with a certain writer who is now out on his own. If you haven't heard about Jason's adventure, then I suppose, it doesn't matter much.

What it sparked, and what I was wrestling with, issues that begat issues that lead to other problems and some don't have any solutions. It's a sordid and strange tale.

In keeping with the general astrological trend, if I recall, and I could be way off on this, I thought that Jason is a Libra. Which is why I tweaked on some point about this issue earlier.

I stumbled across a site, and a post from 2/22 quoted the lyrics from a Ray Wylie song. Which, in turn, made me dig back into my archives to discover where I'd quoted that, as recent as the last trip to the Gulf, and some time before that, as well. I did tumble into a couple of my own links, and I did relive that one fateful three-days, Friday in CA, Saturday fishing, Sunday bound for the UK.

Then I came across a piece of my own, about whether to charge admission or not. Prompted by a couple of folks who've lost their passwords and cookies, I went poking through the subscription database.

The numbers are weird.

Which doesn't account for strange server behavior, as the latest hardware update now rolls at 11 PM on Wednesday night, and I'm at a loss to explain that anomaly.

But my numbers weren't any too good. Not what I was hoping for.

After writing and erasing, and not quite getting to the heart of the matter, then, being forced back into looking at old entries, I hit upon an idea. Old idea. Nothing new here. I'm not old enough to remember Burma-shave signs. But I have read about them, and on the last trip back through Gonzales, there was a series of road signs that had to do with Texas history, as that little section of the countryside is just chock full of historical places. Two of the signs are here, at the bottom.

One of the sites I started reading, pretty much daily, is part of a family of web logs. I've heard the founder speak before, and he's got a good idea. But the crucial point occurred a few days ago, the entry, it's a little further down now, it was frankly commercial, in tone, in content. Not that it disturbed me too much, as I've implied, that site is strictly a "for profit" venture. From what I recall hearing, it was already churning a fistful of dollars, at least, some of that family was making money hand-over-fist.

So I reacted and typed. Then reacted some more, and typed furiously, trying to get to a point where I could grasp an original thought. Nothing original here, but how to divide the line between what's commerce and what's art?

I wrapped up a set of scopes, and I worked through next week's batch a second time, just to make sure. thinking to myself, I've got a firm grip on the rudder for this part of the craft, the creative end isn't hurting at all. It''s the business side of the business that I suck at. But like that frankly commercial appeal, or like kottke.org's hope that donations will keep the site afloat, I've been down some of these roads.

The server bogged down under the load on Thursday, around noon. Didn't grind to a stop, but the hits were a lot higher than usual.

No rhyme or reason, but I still had this unsettled, couldn't exactly place it, frustration. So while I typed and erased, I hit upon another idea. Burma-shave signage. Right along the main page. I'll give that a try. Much as I hate to bog down the front page with advertising, might as well load my own.

To make the world a little better place, I'll try fishing on Saturday morning. That might change everything. Fresh air, fast ride in a boat. Usually works wonders.

Day-hum. The things I do for you people.

Thursday's three-way

It was a Libra day. I mean, Libra day all day long.

From e-mail to readings, to dinner appointments, I mean, nothing but Libra. Part dos:
Closing quote was good. Part tres: To say nothing of the dog.

Clips from historu: Bits from Lone Star Nation:

"In real armies, authority flows from the top down; in the Texas army, it bubbled up from the bottom. Gravity being more reliable than effervescence, authority among the Texans often failed, sometimes at critical moments." (page 284)

With our state legislature? Some aspects of government never change.

Deep East Texas: Like Tyler? Seems to be having a bad run of luck. When I searched for the story, I came up with several tales, none of which painted a pretty picture of the Texas side of the line.

On the radio, I was asked if I had any celebrities for clients. I demurred because none came to mind immediately. Oh, to be sure, this is Austin, I've got any number of famous, semi-famous, and want-to-be famous clients who are musicians. A couple of them are even neighbors.

I was working on a column, and thinking about famous people. I've got a couple of industry mover and shaker types, but not really famous outside of those circles. Then there's other famous people I can count, like the street person who does the chalk images on the corner. Does that count? Aquarius (Leo Moon, if I recall). Plus there's the wacko, cross-dressing "homeless" guy, again, does that really count as a luminary?

Help! What does this mean? Like, in language I can fake?*

* I can fake French, Spanish, Mexican, border patois, but no Cajun. English English or, easier yet, American English. One last obit: Tom Wolfe, writing in the WSJ online, I think.

There's one telling anecdote about a glass of whiskey, and the summation is really quite good. Have to agree with that one. This about that: Busy afternoon, barely had time to enjoy a full moon for fishing. Which accomplished nothing but feeding lots of perch. Confidentiality notice: It was just another consultation. But the querent was adamant that no details would be revealed. First off, my mind is porous. Data in, data out. The only files I keep are astrology charts. No notes. No details. I've documented it before, and it came back Wednesday afternoon, as I was citing an example of running into someone I'd done reading for, and not being able to remember a name, a face, but I cold recall a few poignant details about a chart. I'd claim that I adhere to the strictest moral high ground, but in reality, after doing tens of thousands of consultations, frankly, I'm surprised that I can remember my own name. It has been suggested that some days, I can't. Why I usually check my wallet first thing in the morning. Driver's license, "Kramer Wetzel," and business card, "Fishing Guide to the Stars," and then I know who I am and what I do.

Previous 1.11
I already linked to this item because I founs it wildly amusing. But the bit at the end got me thinking... I know, my mind is like a bad neighborhood, I shouldn't go alone and unarmed. But never mind that now....

Let me see, I typed on CP/M machine, back in the day. Did my first bit of fiction on one, as a matter of fact. Or the kick that got me started this time around. Suddenly, no paper to put in? No need to hit the return bar? It was like a bottomless sheet of paper. Made a lot of difference to me. Like magic, only better.

I've owned, in order, a Mac Plus, a 128 Mac upgraded to a Mac Plus, a Macintosh II, SE/30, PowerMac 6100, PowerBook 145B, a PowerBook 2400 (that was a cool machine), two Blackbirds, a Titanium PowerBook, and finally, an Aluminum one. Mac Plus goes back to 1986, I think. That's close to 20 years on these things.

Which means?

Probably nothing.

Two-Meat Tuesday: the real deal
I was on the trail and my phone buzzed to let me know I had voice mail. I missed a call, I suppose, I was just sipping coffee, and headed towards the pedestrian bridge. And home. Via BBQ.

Without thinking, I just returned the call.

"Hey, is this birthday a (sign) or a (sign)?"

I thought about it. Must be, what, 15, 16 years old.

"Isn't that just a little young for you?" I asked.

What I missed was that it was one of her client's daughter. Not a guy. I mean, birthdays are usually guys she's interested in. So my question was valid. To a degree. Plus, when she repeated the question, there were howl of laughter in her salon. Hair person, you know.

The little Leo at the BBQ place greeted me for the usual two-meat platter, "Hey, how's your girlfriend?"

"Which one?" I aksed, innocently enough.

"The one 'with child,' you know..."

"Oh, I haven't seen her since Valentine's Day. I think she was just using me."

I must add, the food was good. I mean, really good. At that one place, it's hit or miss. Sometimes, though, and this is rare, the beef was masterpiece of the smoker's art. And the ribs, the pork ribs? Last of rack. Perfect, tender, chewy, crunchy and yet meaty, too.

I commented on the superb quality.

"I'll tell the cook." She hollered in Spanish.

"He didn't say a thing."

"Must be a Leo, too," I suggested.

"That fits, oh man, that's so right."

Unrelated: Fish of the day. (That's a very big sunfish. Again.)

The problem with spending most of a long weekend out of touch, is that I'm out of touch. I miss important flashes of celebrity gossip. Like the passing of HST.

At the tail end of Scott's post, there's a few words, and I figure its a finer obit than anyone else will write. Short, concise, and to-the-point about HST, and, potentially, touches on some aspects of the now-dead author's canon's importance. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is still a modern classic, possibly, a brilliant example of how fiction is more true than fact. Update: Had to add one more HST obit.


Quick link:
The problem that this article deals with, the question of a human "6th sense," the biggest problem? I've addressed that question, in person, many times, especially when I'm looking at a chart.

Certain "astrological signatures" lend themselves to strong intuition, at least, in a personal consultation, that's the way I've seen it. Some client, more than one, has it on tape wherein I discuss the aspects of "intuition" as I was making it up to be.

Nice to see hard science is following me around. Glad I'm not paranoid or anything.

Artist in residence
So it's more like "artist on the dole," but I can't be bothered by his economic plight, mine's not much better. What I like is watching artwork unfold, at leisurely pace, and watching the act of creation, almost in real time. First draft?

An afternoon idyl
I was spurred by something I'd read, a short magazine article, to go on and on about brand loyalty, but I got stymied when I hit the halfway point. The point where there wasn't a point anymore. Which is sometimes the purposes, but that's also my failing after so much "modern" art.

Besides fishing, what's the best course of action? Head on down the road for a cup of coffee. I pointedly walked over to Jo's. As a simple reflection in the late afternoon, I was trying to figure out why Jo's is better. To me, it always tastes better. Not like I'm expert on coffee preparation or taste or anything like that, but Jo's has always tasted better.

It's a number of factors. According to the lore, the beans are locally roasted, from a politically correct source. The beans, not the data. Fresh roasted is good. But there's more to the equation. First appearance?

It's logged here somewhere, I was headed towards the airport for an afternoon flight overseas, and Jo's had just opened for business. Coffee from the corner of S. Congress and St. James Street one morning, and the next morning? Coffee on St. James (UK).

The espresso was good that first time. But it's been good ever since, too. Might be the politically correct, fresh-roasted beans. Might be another factor at play, too. Like walking distance. Cover a good mile in the afternoon light, and the palate is clear. Anticipation. A little wait. There were three or four folks ahead of me in line.

Maybe it's the walk home, clutching the coffee cup. Frequently, there's little coffee left in the cup. Jo's itself is entirely outside. That might be it, as well. On a hot summer afternoon, I've done this a time or two, I've wandered home with a full cup of Jo's coffee, and waited until the evening - and coffee - cooled off before enjoy it.

Yesterday afternoon, I mentioned something about Jo's being so good to the Sagittarius behind the counter.

"I don't know if we're the best in the world, but certainly in the top ten," he said.

The aroma of the coffee, the fresh-baked goods on display, a honey bee circulating the sugar counter? Yesterday afternoon? A well-inked Aquarius manning the espresso machine, making it hiss and spurt? Best in the world.

Before I ever got there, I was going to to do a list and compare the coffee shops. But each is different, and good for its own reasons. Each one has a different atmosphere.

Jo's seems a little trendy on some afternoons. But the coffee on Friday? Still the best.

Brand loyalty - results count
Theoretically, "brand loyalty" is no longer an issue.

I'd be worried about it, but I'm not. I'm loyal to a couple of brands, just a few, but that represents hard-won experience. And as times change, I'm willing to change, too.

The deal is, the (American) buying public wants cheaper, more reliable products. Do a quick internet search on some item. I've used several search engines, but as of right now, I still stick to Google and Amazon's A9. I still wonder, with all the advertising it sells - and all the revenue generated by selling that ad space - if the search engine king doesn't stack the results. But time and again, it returns reliable information, usually within the first ten to twenty hits.

Results count.

I use A9 when I want different, sometimes more literary answer. Powered by Amazon, I once joked that amazon was like the Wal-mart of the web. I was quickly corrected by a former Amazon employee who plainly suggested that Amazon had been a good place to work.

I've noted it before, and I would prefer to use an independent bookstore, but my experience with Amazon has been I get paid quarterly, and that small amount helps offset the cost of running a web page. Doesn't pay for it all, but results count. My foray into other online book sellers resulted in me sending them business, but me, or the astrofish.net account not getting paid.

I am by no means, loyal to Amazon. it's just been my experience that their look-ups (and hook-ups) are easier.

From the other side, as a book seller? Amazon sucks. But until I find some other viable option, cheaper, faster, easier, I'll stick with them.

For years, I've worn nothing but Levi Jeans. 501, to be precise. No super baggy, no super tight, and no zipper. I can remember - I had clients - who worked in the Levi factories, both in San Antonio and El Paso areas. Eventually, all of Levi's manufacturing was moved "off-shore," in other words, to compete, they had to find cheaper labor elsewhere. The last two pairs of 501s I bought were made in Central America. For a while, I was looking at the labels, and I did manage to pick up a couple of pairs that were still "made in the USA." But as winter wears on, those are fading...

I was concerned because I figured the non-USA jeans would be cheaper in quality. So far, so good. But if they don't wear as well as the older ones, I'll be looking for new jeans with a different label.

Why not Wranglers? I don't have a "Wrangler jeans" ass. Way it goes. The cut of Levi's jeans fits just fine. Results count.

My first pair of Teva sandals were nothing more than regular looking flip-flops with a heel strap added. Designed, originally, by river guides in AZ, or so I seem to recall. Worked great. Lasted years. Wore through the first pair, bought a second then a third. But as the manufacturing for Teva brand moved off-shore, the quality dropped. Got to where I was needing to buy a new pair every year. I wore through a pair of Birks in less than a year, so I wasn't going to do that - I'm hard on equipment.

I stumbled across Piper Sandals at one street fair. Tried them. Cost a little more than a pair of Teva, but so what? My Pipers were resoled by the manufacturer, cost almost as much as the sandals did. At my request, they put a better sole on the sandals, and I've gotten more than one season out of them. Yeah, so my sandals are ugly. They're also very comfortable, and they have, I think, a limited lifetime warranty. Plus, they can be resoled. Again and again. Results count.

Piper Sandals are also handmade in Texas, a definite plus. But results count.

I can't endorse much. When I do, it has to be a product, an item, something that I find useful.

It used to be a seller's market. Charge what you want, no price was too high. But that's changed, as has a number of other experiences. It's a buyer's market now.

Don't even ask, I have no idea where this comes from. As I understand, though, there really aren't a lot guidelines.

Top 100 Gadgets of all time. Note #43, #39 & #1.

Punks in Parkas. Bring back the late 70s.

So I don't have to do this.

Early astrology?

Faster e-mail?

How's this for a title? Shotgun golf with Bill Murray?

Nice title, shame about the content.

Viral video? Iron Hymen - don't even ask - I found it funny.

Dream journal and the mudflap image
I was poking through one of the sites this journal pings, and I came across a weird web log. The guy, I'm assuming, I didn't delve too deep, had a list of characters. Included in the list was ex-girlfriends, some with pictures. Plus a little description of the relationship. some were frankly a little embarrassing. File it under too much information.

But it got me thinking, and that's a dangerous turn of events. Between writing about signs for an upcoming horoscope, I fiddled around with an image. I was going to use a symbol to represent the ex-girlfriends.

No, see, in the past week, I've had at least two dreams about ex-lovers. Nothing pornographic, just clear and vivid images as well as narrative. Must be processing something, or, as the astute observer of astrological phenomena will note, Uranus is at 6 degrees of Pisces.

That's setting up "uncomfortable in my own skin" energy. Only, me? I'm comfortable in my skin. Perhaps it's a deeper, more profound change?

So the dreams were weird, and one bordered on an attack of some sort. I've got to quit dreaming about cheap motels, I'm trying to improve my image these days.

So between working on scopes and doing readings, and eating chicken-fried steak, and having a cup of coffee, I got thinking about an avatar, a thumbnail sketch for "the ex-girlfriends" - like that guy had on his web log.

Best one I could come up with? The Mud Flap Girl. But that's been done to pieces, so I gave it a rest. Not, though, before I swiped several copies of it, tweaked them, exploded them, shrunk them, and came up with something I liked. I think this one's been used before, something about a buddy of mine - whose name is not bubba - had it on his bumper sticker. (Guess not.)

I was going somewhere with this, but once I set out, I forgot what the destination was. Something about all my ex-girlfriends, and the anonymous nature - but I think the mud flap logo is good. Very unrelated fish tales: I waited until dusk, then I caught several. Really light tackle and line, just having a bit of fun. That big perch? I was sure it was bass when I saw it flash in the water, fought like one, and it was huge.

Big Perch

Small Big Mouth

File under: I don't know how they do it.
But in truth, I suspect I do understand.

Glorious afternoon, and I love looking at a weather channels on line, projected high was 64. That prediction was running concurrent with the afternoon's actual temp of 68. Mostly sunny, light and steady breeze, I was meandering along the hike and bike trail, and while I had several destinations in mind, I really didn't go much of anywhere.

Fished some, worked, fished, walked, worked, had a late lunch at Little City, and came home to fish a little bit more. Toyed with small fish, caught one, and generally had a nice enough day of it. Tied a top water lure on, but never tested it. I'm afraid I'm a little premature with that idea.

I had many thoughts running through my mind, and since this is basically a brain dump, what I was thinking about was a copy of an article a client gave to me. Yahoo! Internet! Life! - July! 1999! Issue! close to the back, as I recall. It listed a half dozen astrology sites, and what I liked? Mine was in there. But of the sites listed, mine was the only site that wasn't a big, corporate deal. I was the only single person listed with all the big folks. Staff of 30-40 people? Millions in sales? Advertising and marketing? Quite a nice note.

As an added bonus, at the time of the article, I was selling two columns to one of the other sites listed ahead of me. Double penetration.

The one place where I was selling my column, plus a column written under a pen name, that company got bought out and absorbed, and the rest of the details are buried in my old history. What I was thinking about, on the trail, was the way that place used to have "personality driven" horoscopes. Authors got credit for their work. As the web has changed, and so has the face of commerce, the few remaining astrology sites that are big business? All have that "personality driven" tone to them, as well.


Look at the volume of work - actual number of words? Wonder how many of those are done by just one person? Got an author's name attached to it, but is that really the person who typed it? Or is it just managed by that name (sake).

I stopped at the Hideout, angling towards home the long way, trying to stay in the sun. The Gemini behind the bar wasn't behind the bar. He was at a computer terminal dashing off a quick note. He looked up, "Be right with you," and continued to type very fast.

I wasn't in a hurry, wasn't going to get in a hurry, and I certainly wasn't going to interrupt what he was doing. I realize that other patrons would've been less understanding, but I figure the espresso would taste better if he took his time.

He typed very fast, a whole paragraph in a matter of moments. He quickly read the note then hit "send." Love the way a Gemini mind can work so quickly. And I admire anyone who can type that fast, about 120 words in 30 seconds. Or so it seemed. Hands a blur on the keyboard.

So I'm wondering, do the big-name astrologers really type all that material? Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? Or is some of the work handled by hack writers following a style sheet and using keywords?

Thinking while I type, I was wondering, what would my style sheet have? Include coffee, a cat, trailer life in South Austin, hike and bike trail, Texas trivia, bass fishing, fishing, and some classical lit. Maybe some Shakespeare. Plus whatever pops up? Be kind of hard to get someone else to write this material. I doubt it could be done, and no, that's not a challenge.

I mean, where else are there pictures of Longhorn Dolphins?


Two-Meat Tuesday
The more things change? The more they all remain the same. Ain't that the way it goes?

I was reading a little more in Lone Star Nation, and I found a couple of telling passages.

"Berlandier said that 'Ciudad Bexar resembles a large village more than a municipal seat of a department.'" (page 143)

It was comment from a French biologist attached to a Mexican general's commission to survey the Texas frontier in 1828.

"Sanchez observed wryly, 'The character of the people is care-free; they are enthusiastic dancers, very fond of luxury, and the worst punishment that can be afflicted upon them is work.'

"The prevailing distastes toward work wasn't entirely a deficiency of character; circumstance conspired to prevent work from being rewarded. Most of the families at Bexar were connected to the army, and their military obligations precluded regular farming." (pages 143-4)

170 years later? Ciudad Bexar is now called San Antonio, Texas. In Bexar County. And there are four or five military bases located within the city limits. Can't say about the dancing, but I'm sure about the work thing. And the "village" thing, too.

It is a favorite spot, and I'd long-forgotten how much fun the town was. It really lacks a central "downtown" with skyscrapers and such. There is the "riverwalk," but even I find that quaint, but perhaps a little over rated. Too much like Austin's fabled 6th Street - nothing but bars.

Remember the whole "6 degrees of separation" with its concomitant 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon? I once amended that for austin, as in one is never more than two degrees away from a musician. In SA? One is never more than two degrees away from military. Unrelated: More about Marcus Aurelius

Brothers and sisters: Caught about three, just at dusk. He ain't much, but he was fun, and, I'm sure, he's my girlfriend's boyfriend. Since the girlfriend didn't show up, I'm beginning to feel like she was just using me on Valentine's Day.


Various VD liner notes
A home smaller than mine? Good philosophy, too. (via fredlet) Daily ire? I was in San Antonio last weekend, worked most of the time, ate lots of good food, and I like SA a lot. Cool town. Cool Texas town.

SA has two loops around it, and most directions stem from those two loops, "Take the loop (which can be 1604 or 410), and then turn..."

Monday afternoon, I was picking through my local daily rag, waiting on a quick update for an Aquarius reading. The paper's headline caught me. The hook was magnificent. The emotional barbs sunk deep. Only, it was about the travesty of land being grabbed - unfairly - so the article stated (as fact) for the loop that's being built around Austin.

The problem isn't the construction or the supposedly underhanded tactics used to acquire the various properties. The real problem was the emotional tone of the article. It wasn't factual as much as it was one set of hooks after another, going straight for the gut. Messy, and hardly what I'd call "objective journalism." There's a reason why I tend to avoid the local paper. Unbiased and fair? Hardly.

I scribbled some notes on the back of an envelope, about the lack of objective reporting, but then, as I set about trying to decipher and transcribe my diatribe, I realized that one aspect of British culture, especially London, that sets it apart is the tabloid journalism. And that headline article, above the fold on the late daily of the Austin paper? Same thing. Just trashy tabloid sensationalism.

On a happier note, much happier for me, I was ripping a recent VD gift, Jimmy Buffett's License to Chill CD. I was ripping the CD, reading the liner notes while the computer put it on the iPod, and I noticed something curious, several items. Yeah, lots of "nashville" country on the album, but then, Buffett always was like that. But the second track from the end? Scarlet Begonias.

No, I'm not a "dead head." Saw them once, and I've only got two or three CDs. But an odd nod, and for some reason, it sounded perfectly Jimmy. Gets my vote for the best cut on the CD.

True Love (Valentine's Day exclusive): My girlfriend. I was joking about this last weekend, funny, catch the same fish four times? Is it a relationship?

Two perch, then one bass before the radio and one after it. One them is the new girlfriend. Must be. Seen her more than anyone else, right? Half dozen times in less than a month? Certainly sounds like a relationship.

I was joking with the jock about that, but he did wish that I got to see a girlfriend on VD. Got my wish. Same fish. Once a little past 7 and then again, a little past 9.


And after.

"Kramer, I swear..."
Scorpios, all about the same, right? "You look like a surfer dude, like from a past life. Wait, you're from Austin? Maybe that's this life."

Close enough.

Booked up a workshop for late April in San Antonio. Free, no less.

Notes, for the workshop?

It's an extension of the usual lecture, which has grown and mutated over the years, and the lecture has to be adjusted for audiences (and audience participation).

Last time, a little more than a week ago, I found the lecture - and the audience - kept stretching. So I figured we can try the workshop next. 3 hours, couple of breaks....

Off the shelf at the bookstore? I saw a cute reminder:

(Three wise women would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, brought practical gifts ad there would be peace on earth.)

Notes from SA
One of my preferred traveling companions? Leon Metz's Roadside History of Texas.

The Texas Post Oak Savannah - includes San Antonio. It's a weird meeting place, a strange middle ground. At one time, it was the seat of the Spanish colonial missions, and then, a hundred years later, the seat of the Texas Revolution. That was influenced by the strong immigration from the Old South.

So it's Old South meets the Wild West. Barely a hundred miles inland from the sea, no less, just to compound the equation.

Front seat of the car

Note from Twin Sisters

Road trip
It's not like this is a major trip, but I picked up a rent car, and pointed it on down the road to San Antonio.

What I've picked up from the history books, and more, from just doing the commute, a point made early in Lone Star Nation was that the geology, the geography of the Hill Country was part of the pattern and dictated the history.

No big rivers. No Hudson. No Mississippi. But a lot of smaller, clear running streams that gently drain the hills. Everything is worn down by the weather. Fertile soil. Rich land, and lots of it.

I was headed south again. Under a sodden, gray sky, working my down the interstate, thinking about what those first settlers saw.

Dream sequence
I've been told, to the point that it's lore, about writing down dreams as soon as they happen.

So here's the dream, I just woke up and started eating granola bars so I had an excuse to write this one down.

I was in Arizona, like Flagstaff, or Globe, or some place like that. and I was at a seedy little hotel, like ones I've stayed at in Lubbock or El Paso. Or Tucson, Albuquerque, Las Cruces. All about the same.

Clean, starchy sheets. Southwestern motif. A faux indian blanket on the bed, wagon wheels on the wall.

I went in the restaurant and ordered up some breakfast, from a Gemini. Then another Gemini sat down next to me. One of them, the waitress, asked what I was looking so incredulously. I remember saying, "I'm trying to figure out why Ray Benson is on the front cover of your newspaper," and the article was titled, "Alone at last." About Ray & the Wheel. (Oh look, on the air in Austin, two Pisces.)

I remember the article's headline and the picture of Ray Benson. That's just weird. Plus the waitress looked a lot like someone from my not too distant past.

The buzz in that small town was about the alien abductions, and a verified landing of a UFO saucer landing. It skidded to halt, rotated on its axis three times. And then took off. Cameras, eye witness accounts, everything. I could see the spaceship in my mind's eye, clearly.

When I lay down to sleep for the night, in the dream, in that motel, just as I was drifting off to sleep, I felt a strong, ultra-high frequency beam hit me. I was about to be alien abducted. Or probed. Or something. I woke up.

I wrestled with getting up and writing down the dream. One thought occurred to me, why do alien abductions always happen in trailer parks? Because we live in tin cans, just like space ships.

Then a black helicopter zoomed overhead.

Glad I'm not paranoid or anything.

Books & Travel
I picked up Lone Star Nation the other afternoon. It was a lark, and I've already got a shelf full of half-read history tomes, but this one was well received, and the hardback had a nice cover, and the first 100 pages went ripping right along.

The way I'm reading it, the western US, and especially California, owes it very existence to that handful of plucky ne'er do-wells, the ragged band of Texans, and lets admit one little fact, most of those characters were not exactly savory types.

Between the Brazos and the Nueces Rivers, though, they did find some really pretty countryside. Still is.

Plus, just from a personal point, one of my favorite locations for fishing is Bastrop, named for a character of dubious origins.

Other characters? In Imagined London, I found a passage that really hit a note with me, "... a woman chalking 'The Birth of Venus' onto the cement with her empty artists' pastels box by her heels for donations." (page 114)

I tossed a pound coin in that very box, I'm sure, since I stopped and asked her birthday, as well as taking a picture of the project. It's in the old web journal some place.

One is the along aside the River Thames, and one is that land between rivers. or like me, on the southern shore of the Colorasdo River. Imagined London is part introspective, with firm ties to the historical, literary London. Lone Star Nation is straight historical narrative, but fortunately, it's a little better paced than some of the other history I've read.

I'm off to San Antonio de Bexar, as it's referred to in a more historical context. Off for a weekend of working, alongside the San Antonio River (doubt I'll make it to the River Walk, this trip.) We through being cool! "If you live in as small town, you might meet a dozen or two, young alien types who step out and dare to declare: we're through being cool." (This New Wave moment has been brought to you by Devo)

Parenthetical note: that was playing as I wandered up and down Congress Avenue, yeah, from the Capital to Jo's. And by way of a Libra at Amy's, too. "We're through being cool."

Fish on! All right, I had just a few worms left over, and at dusk, I was sitting by the edge of the river, while one fish ran off with the bait. Happened a second time. The third time, I landed her. Again. Same fish from the day before, no kidding, she still had a bloody lip from our last encounter. Same fish. Same place. Same bait. $30 fishing pole. $20 reel. 3 different spools of line, trying to find what worked best (6 pound spider wire), say $15. Glow in the dark worms. Regular worms. Special worms. $3 three times. That works out to, and I'm sure I caught her in January, too, so that means it's about $25 a pop.

I'm not saying that this is a dumb bass, either, but I've caught her (she's "with child" now) three or four times, at least, in recent memory. I wonder if this qualifies as a relationship? Dating? And is $25 a good price for about minute of pleasure? The line going taut, the hook set, the fight, the joy of pulling her up for a moment? Personally, I like her little boyfriends as much as her, even though they're smaller. Caught one of them January First.

Not exactly dumb, but not exactly the brightest fish in the pond. Ounce for ounce though, what she ain't got in brains, she more than makes up for with attitude and fight. No wonder she takes my bait, she's hungry. She's eating enough for up to 2,000 babies?

Catch and release: I want all of her little fry to grow up and be healthy, as pretty as she is, with nice, strong jaws, just like she's got.



Tech Woes, eBay problems, and so forth
I labored, toiled quite a bit, with the keyboard, and at one point in time, I had two text editors, four different browsers (IE, NetScape, FireFox & Safari) running with different windows, two different FTP programs, and the screen was a cluttered mess.

3/4's of the problems have been fixed. Took more than one late night call to tech support. I did come up with problems that were over the level of the operators. I'm still working on the software for the weblog. The hardware shift, platform change, the backend looks good. But one tiny change one place has a cascading effect as the problems all roll downhill, gather speed, momentum and grow larger and larger.

Then again, this morning, an email pops through, "where's the item I bought from you on eBay?"

Man, I shipped that the day after the auction closed.

New Moon in Aquarius
Tuesday was the day. I'm managing, maybe a half dozen, perhaps more, sites that are located on this server. They've been upgrading hardware, more bandwidth, more disk space, better, faster, "new & improved," and the ubiquitous, "as seen on TV!" Good news, as MY site was finally slated for upgrade processing.

Ten minutes on hold, listening to sappy music. Interrupted by a call from the bookkeeper, doing taxes, "Just a few items I need to go over...." No bad news there, well, except that I'm not showing enough income. Not that it's been a problem, either. I actually report all income - it's just easier from a bookkeeping point-of-view. From an accountant point-of-view? I should be making more money.

Back to tech support. Been years since I've had to call them for help. I understand that there will be a wait, but of all the sites? Just mine?

Now, astrologically speaking, this is a good time for an upgrade, especially to computer hardware. Couldn't have picked it better myself. But I've never seen any upgrade ever go smoothly, not for me. Too many custom settings, and one too many add-on bits that break.

In the interim? I did hammer out a new 403 "access denied" page, have to have a pirate logo someplace. Odd bit about that picture? It's from a Catholic Mission, along the coastal plains of Texas, now administered by the Parks & Wildlife folks. Unrelated, part uno: I was loooking for something, and I found a link that led to a link, which ended up with that Midland feller, about usability on a blog. and, in general, usability on web page over all. Unrelated, part two-0: Cold outside. I slipped on the iPod when I took off to meet a client for a reading. Long story short, ambling home, Devo came on, good music, and I was marveling at the song selections against the backdrop. Two runners were on the trail, slim women with grim, determined looks on their faces, pounding the dirt, running, and Devo was singing about "can't get no satisfaction,' as only they can do.

Gratuitous Town Lake Bass: Between readings and tech support, snippets of code, and correcting for the new platform, I did take enough time to drop a line in the lake.

image 2/9
The Tortilla search - two meat Tuesday
I've got, literally, dozens of snapshots, digital images of tortillas, and there's a reason for the season of madness, I'm looking for an image.

"I got on my cowboy boots, jeans and hawaiian shirt, pair of sunglasses and a mobile phone. I guess I look like some Port Aransas dope dealer, out on bail, just trying to get home."

(Ray Wylie Hubbards "Screw You We're From Texas" off the Growl album.)

"Now, I love the USA and the other states, they're okay. Texas is the place I want to be, and I don't care if I go Delaware anyway."

In the trailer park: The Virgo neighbor, one of them, anyway, stopped by and had much to say, as she has moved, and will be renting her place out during session.

"But I'm going to miss this place, with all its 'personalities,'" she implied me, me than anyone else.

And thinking about personalities? Check it out, everything is for sale, I guess, including human ad space. Maybe it's not really that new. Leo notes: I wonder if Shannon knows she's saucy? But she is the Leo.


Fish photo: Right at dusk, I was chatting up an Aries client, and she was wondering about good luck. The bobber disappeared. Fish on! Een though he's pretty small, I mean, considering the conditions? It's a good sign.


There was a second fish, moments later, but the picture didn't really turn out too well. And if you've made this far? There's the first draft of an "iLife iMovie" in quicktime, or some kind of video streaming - music and video, all done by me. I did a reading last night, and when I was done, it was really too icky to fish, so I played around with some software. Looks like it's about 6 megs, or so.

warning ticket
On the way home, I was driving the little car, and just outside of Gonzales, TX, right past the the spot for the canon memorial ("Come and take it, Oct 2, 1835), a state trooper turned on his flashing lights, spun around and I was parked, license and registration in hand, before he even got to the car.

Officer Gonzales wrote me a warning for 62 in a 55, and he thanked me for being nice to him. Just a little bit of common road sense: be polite to the officer. I mean, his job is hard enough with improbable tales and excuses. Besides, I didn't have an excuse, and I was busted, clean as could be. Unrelated: A clip about Hallmark Cards.

In Beeman's coffee shop, in Port A, there's still a sign, which reads:
"Unattended children will be given two shots of espresso and a free puppy."

Scariest sign I've seen in a while.

Port A
Wake up to the sound of gulls and the surf? The dolphins were in the water playing across the bow of the Aransas Pass ferry as we pointed the car back to the motel. Another night on the water, and there's something magical about it. Too tired to write. Just some phone cam shots.


Then there was this clever bit heading into Gonzales, only caught two of the signs:

History notes:
Seems like I travel a lot with a particular book in hand, Roadside History of Texas.

Full of interesting facts like, 30% of Texas' population lives within a few miles of the ocean. Sea. Gulf of Mexico, call it whatever. No fences can be erected on the water's edge; therefore, there's no restriction on access to the beach. And Padre Island is the longest barrier island in the northern hemisphere. Maybe the world, no access to figure that out at this point.;

There's always something special about being on the coast, the Texas coast. It';s part island attitude. Less than 200 miles south of San Antonio, and yet, except for tenuous historical threads and old Spanish missions, the land grants from almost 200 years ago, the bloody Texas history, and similar bits of lore and myth, the modern age feels like this is a place that sometimes is forgotten in town.

I got a picture, but it'll be a while before I can get it up on the web, but there was that old theater, I'm guessing a movie theater, called 'CENTRE' and it was one, of about three? Maybe more? Can't say, haven't spent enough time in downtown Corpus to know for sure, but it did seem like an unusually high number of theaters for such a small town. Unrelated: Animal totems? Two, so far, and I'm missing the dolphins. No, I've seen them before, I might see them again on this trip, usually, they show up alongside the bow of the ferry.

Saturday morning, early, an owl tried to do a nosedive on the car's windshield. Saturday night, driving the back island road to the motel? There was a wolf - too big to be a coyote - alongside one of the channels. It looked up at the headlights and went back to feeding. Probably a seagull or a rabbit.

Corpus Christi & environs
Toni Price was the Executive Surf Club Saturday night. Amazing performer. Had to take a miss on the show because the motel I selected is 40 minutes away. And so different from being in a metropolis.

"Let's go to popeye's," I kept saying. One year, that very idea was met with universal disdain from the new age crowd as the food from the Gulf was labeled as "unhealthy," and fried food was similarly tagged.

Slightly different group this time, and I left a few minutes early because I was bored with work. We found ourselves at Snoopy's, devouring plateful after plateful raw oysters, fried oysters, fried shrimp, and fried fish. All very fresh. A mesquite fire was burning in the central brazier, gently filling the noisy place with a fragrant aroma.

Got lost looking for the new WalMart, so that's a bit of research left for another time.

You know what's different about this hotel room? No phone. No phone and no clock. It's that little place over in Port A, a tourist, seaside retreat. A World away from the cares and troubles of the world. Plus, it's on the other side of the coastal waterway.

Off to work then maybe look for some diversions. Just an odd prediction, I'm not to up on this Superbowl thing, but the underdog? By three points. Look at the time stamp on the entry, and we'll see how that prediction goes.

Breakfast at Beeman's and more coffee in CC at some swanky coffee joint. A little Aries in dreads completed the surfer picture:


Road trips
"Hey," I asked the girl sitting next to me, "when was the first time we came down here?"

"Ten, twelve years ago, why?"

"Ten years on the road, making one night-strands," (lyrics from Waylon)

In the pre-dawn light - or dark - southbound, from SA, the hint of sulphur in the air, feels like the gulf coast is right there. 110 miles.

3,000 hits on the old location for the journal software - since the update.

"Man, I don't get it, I put the notice about the changed URL for the web journal, and suddenly, it's getting 3,000 hits - oh." I figured it out, I linked it from the scopes. Never mind.

Corpus Christi, city by the sea? More like a town by the bay, but whatever. It's a fairly old town, especially by North American standards. 1519? Named for the day it was discovered? Sounds right, I'll have to look it up. Can't trust just one source these days.

Downtown, just around the corner, looks like a theater, a big neo sign, spells out "CENTRE." I'll have to get a picture. Speaks to roots.

Not enough time.
Breakfast with Pa Wetzel, dash home, check to make sure everything is in the backpack for a road trip and it's off to SA then the coast.

Since the Texas Gulf Coast is mostly a "snow bird" destination, I did think to call and make sure that the hotel had heater in the room.

Unrelated road trip notes: So this means a shot like this could get me in trouble?

Plus one
It's a fish. Thursday morning. In fact, it's the same fish I caught another time. She's putting on a little weight, too. In a bigger version of the picture, it's possible to see that the pole is a really light crappie pole. Makes for much more interesting fishing, that's for sure. This one about bent that pole in half.

Thursday afternoon I cashed in a three dollar lottery ticket, paid for lunch (hot link & coke).

Luck might just be changing.


iPod tricks? iPod pic-o-da-week. I guess. Politics: Kinky for Guv? You bet. Made official Thursday, then I began looking at the page's actual content. Maybe a couple of hundred words about Kinky and his bid for governor, and the rest was advertising. 75% or more. Plus the stuff about the Kinkster? That's not, like, heavily researched - it's all available on the book blurb for most of his novels.

Nice, too, in front of the Alamo. Make a point. Do it with style, that's our boy. I'll be in SA myself, Friday night.

More on Texas politics at the Pink Dome. Unrelated: Pa Wetzel breezed into town. He has a meeting, affiliated the University, and he drove in a little early for some dinner with me, and, of course, some Amy's Ice Cream. Dinner was BBQ, and I toted my laptop up to the BBQ joint to show Pa Wetzel a few website ideas, make a point, and look at pretty pictures - he has a thing for maps. Yes, it's just a seedy BBQ joint, and yes, they have free wireless.

After that, we piloted his Prius over to Amy's. A familiar face was working the counter last night, a guy I've seen, he was at Amy's old store on Guadalupe, the old store, back some years ago. Back again, and I asked his birthday. He even ventured a year.

"29," I replied, "you just turned 29," same year I was born. "28," he replied to my reply, "I'll be 29 this year." Grin. He only works Thursday nights, was what I gathered. Aquarius. One of those. Two Aquarius at the BBQ place and that super scooper. He had a practiced throw, three scoops up, over and caught backhanded. While Pa Wetzel was working his way through a big dish of ice cream, and I dashed next door to look for a last-minute Valentine's card. Out of luck because I was out of time.

But the girl working the counter looked vaguely familiar. "Don't you remember, you did my chart."


"And things, they did get better?" I asked.

"Well, some. It is a lot better now."

Then I asked about the book she was reading, as I was in terrible hurry to get back to my abandoned father, but she had out a book with the blurb, "by the Booker-award winning author..." Which, without a doubt, aroused my curiosity. But not enough to linger, but I did scribble a title down to look for at a later date. Never know what book recommendation will be good, "If you like that dry English style," which I do.

Persistent behavioral problems: The problem was a single typo. Appropriate parties have been summarily beaten.

Persistent behavioral problems
There's just one tiny snag in the new software. I'm working on it. In other news: Someone is already over-clocking the mini-mac.

Cold Wednesday
Too cold for my liking. Book notes: It had, as might be expected, an innocuous start. I was trying to figure out how to put more books on the limited shelf space I've got. I came across a copy of a book, I'm guessing Sister gave it to me for Xmas, Imagined London.

I picked it up and was immediately captivated by the easy, slightly self-effacing style. Normally, I would be a little daunted by the display of a holographic-bibleographic recall of the Western Canon, as it pertains to literature and fiction set in London. But in the first chapters, there's a walk she describes, and I made just such walk - and got lost like the author - and that interlude (real or fictional) hooked me.

The frequent use of quotes from various sources is a bit over the top. But it flows well enough. I was already underlining passages for quotes.

"Piccadilly Circus seems more important than it is mainly because of the street bustle its tortured topographical layout foments." (pages 21-2)

London maps (via BBC). Meal ticket: I set out with great plans, late in the afternoon, but the biting cold wind greatly shortened my walk. I wound up at T-Gill's and I encountered, among other, a Libra. At one time, this woman was the object of many of the waiters' fantasies, or that's the guess. The more prurient-minded males I've encountered usually had something to say. Get thy mind hence from the gutter, happily married mother of three, if I recall. But I don't. Didn't get much of a chance to chat. But Jupiter has the most amazing effect on Libra. How does one, me, politley say, "Putting ona little weight lately? No, darling, it looks good. got rid of that 'bag o' bones' look."

(Chicken-friend steak covered in queso, topped with fresh pico, green beans & bacon.)

Unrelated coffee notation: Why I do beans, too. Unrelated 'pod note:
Wired is running a short piece about the number of 'pods on the MS Campus in Redmond. "Like thew streets of ... London" is part of the opening.

Priceless backward applause: For the mini-mac. Unfiled ideas: West of Marfa? As a title? Or just where there's a sign?

Two-Meat Tuesday
Updates, book notes, and more, much more! Updates: Finally, got it done, I hope. Change pointers, bookmarks and links: www.astrofish.net/xenon should finally work right. Stupid Apple Tricks: I was fooling around with the "make a poster" link, and I ordered up a poster from the "best of" 2004, early gift for the parental unit since they are always curious as to exactly what I do, what I see, and where I go. Then I got to poking through the photo files, really, just digital images, and I thought about a poster of all the fish in 2004. So I toyed with that while I was waiting on a software update (to this journal) to update.

One white bass, two hybrid bass, a lot of dinky black bass, and a couple of big ones. Plus one I tired buck I caught twice in a single afternoon. While I had fun throwing together the images, I'm not sure that it makes a valued poster. Sometimes, though, just the process of knocking around with the collage helps spur new ideas. Besides, it was really too cold for me to fish. Book notes: I finished reading The Piano Tuner the other evening. It was a quick read, and the first half of the novel was luxurious in detail, descriptions, plotting, and a curious echo. I couldn't place the echo until, some point, about halfway? The protagonist starts a trip up a jungle river. Suddenly, it's like, Apocalypse Now in imagery, which, of course, alludes to Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Look, the writing, the text, it's very good. Lyrical, with a nice flavor to it. But the story line, and the ultimate resolution? I felt just a little cheated. could've been better. It's a first novel for a med student, and unlike my previous assumption, it's not a British author, but a Yank. Because I picked the book up overseas, with a British imprint, it is a little bit better of a book, better binding, nicer printing.

But I did feel cheated when I realized that it was a new idea grafted onto an old story. Plus, I didn't like its conclusion. But that's often an ailing of modern literature, shooting for the easy way out. Reminded me of some of Hemingway's early short stories, in fact. The plot to the The Piano Tuner is a simple set-up: stationed on the edge of what's now Thailand, in the jungle, there's an eccentric British Major who has this rare piano, and he orders up a piano tuner from London, all circa 1886.

The voyage, the trip, the travels, the travails, the stories and myth of the fellow travelers, and ultimate resolution? So good. A very near miss, in my estimation. The historic detail and the metaphors about British colonial expansion work well. Just because I wasn't satisfied with the ending? Doesn't make it a bad book. I'd be interested in more work from the doctor, as I'm guessing he's done with med school by now.

I had a quick after thought, too, which is an indication that it is a passable bit of lit, couple of points. It's not "macho"" literature, that's good. Unlike some of the criticism I seem to recall leveled at Hemingway. Plus the prose in imminently digestible. Finally, it did evoke a strong response from me, and maybe that was part of the intent.

Unrelated: Fish wine & beer?
What will they think of next? Mac Project sidebar:
This guy plugged a Mac Cube into that SE case. iPod goodness? Is it really a free accessory?
fredlet pointed this out first, apparently, and after I cruised the catalog, it looked right, a $30 product (mini speakers powered by a single AA battery, and the assembly rides on top of the iPod) with a rebate for the full price. In other words, shipping is the only other cost, $8-12 depending on options.
The catch? The only one I cold tell is that the "free" (after 6-8 weeks plus shipping) is for an older version of the product, and there's a newer one out now, supposedly incrementally better. Which is why I tend not to buy the first rev. of anything these days. Except some times, knowing full well that "Kramer's law of computer prices" is in full effect.

"Kramer's law of computer prices?"

That new CPU/Keyboard/Display? Before it's out of the box, before it's even been powered up the first time? It's now worth half what you paid for it.

Change you pointers!
While this should be a transparent shift with no apparent problems, be aware that some shifting may have occurred, and this product is sold by volume, not weight. The link, update them bookmarks, is WWW.ASTROFISH.NET/XENON.

To keep the old links and such accessible, there probably won't be a redirect set up from here, but the location - same server - updated software and all the modern inconveniences - is now at the new location. Where I tried to move it several times. astrofish.net/xenon - easy to remember, no?

Project Mac Update
Oh this getting to be too much trouble.

To be sure, it's a great time waster, and an excellent idea, but after I finished gutting the computer case, I turned back to the web for some ideas. Surely, some one's got plans for a Mac Aquarium, right?

Do a quick search and there's a wealth of - mostly dated - resources. But what the project entails is taking a grinder to the inside of the case, then cutting, shaping, moulding, melting and essentially welding up a plexiglas interior. Then finding a smallish pump and so on. Too much work.

Could be it was too cold to work outside, too, but after carting the trash to the dumpster, and looking at the case, I decided to shelf the project for the time being.

I still don't have a mini-mac, but I'm getting ready. This was a tiny bonus.

Monday Blues
Going to be a busy weekend coming up.

There was so much to write about, but none of it makes any sense at this point. There's a connection, as I recall - this is from memory so it might be way off - Steve Jobs is Pisces. Following my year-long predictions for Pisces and so forth, there's the idea that this is a good cycle. And beloved Apple has just become the number one most recognized brand. Fame is such a fleeting critter to chase. I'd rather be fishing. Daily diversion? Took a look at this, then I figured it would be good place to start for the day. Besides other things, of course.

> Here are the questions:
> How long have you been using your iPod now? How did you learn of it? Did you
> ever own a different mp3 player? Do you use special iPod accessory? Are you a
> Mac or PC user?

My first iPod was a gift from my sister, during a nasty break-up, a little retail therapy. I didn't think much of it, until I plugged it in that afternoon, and it automatically downloaded the entire contents of my iTunes files, with plenty of room to spare. but I never did like the wheel thing, and I never bothered to read the instructions.

Eventually, I hooked that iPod up to the stereo. Now, it has something like 4 days worth of music on it, plus a couple of lectures, and that iPod runs the sounds in here. But that first iPod, I'm listening to it now, it has over 20 hours of new techno background music on it, it's just too big too carry around, plus I don't want to unclip it from the stereo. Yeah, that's me, a lazy techno weeny. But that was the first portable digital or otherwise, player that I've had. it's well over a year old now.

I got stuck in a rent car that didn't have a CD player one weekend, and that trip necessitated another mp3 player, a mini-iPod. Which, oddly enough, has seen duty not just for long car trips but fishing or hiking as well. The form factor is almost perfect, and it plays just what I want.

> Where do you take your iPod? How do you use it?

The mini iPod as been many places, overseas, fishing, hiking along the trail here quite frequently, or even, it's just handy to listen to when I have to move around and fish, clean house and do laundry. Makes the tasks a lot easier.

> Where do you place your iPod when you take it with you?

The mini iPod either sits in the seat next to me or it rides in a little leather belt clip, with the telltale wires sticking in my ears. I understand the music might be better if I used the earbuds, but I like the feel of the straight current.

> What is your relationship to your iPod? Does it have a special name?

It's a portable music appliance, that's all. I figure the mini iPod is pretty much disposable, in case it gets lost. Which is why I bought it in the first place. Name for it? Are you kidding me? It's a small storage device that will play back music files. Name? Like, it's person or something? Inanimate objects hate it when you anthropomorphize them.

> What makes your iPod special? How does it make you special?

The music on it makes it special. Opera. Classical. Punk. Texas Country & Western. Road music of all shapes and sizes.

> Have you ever owned a Walkman or Discman? Do you think there is a difference
> between the iPod experience and that of those devices?

Never owned any other kind of portable music player.

> How many people do you know who also have an iPod? Are you a member of an iPod
> fan club or an iPod community on the Internet?

I'm not a member of any club like that, you're kidding again, right? I mean, I've got a couple of sites bookmarked, but that was just for sorting out technical problems. Matter of fact, I can't think of any of my immediate friends who own an iPod. Lots of them have portable digital music players, but I'm the anomaly with the iPod(s).

Copyright 2005 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Sunday Shopping
More rain, more indoor activity.

Coincidence, or just anecdotal evidence:
I was thinking about certain Leo lad, from Scotland. Hadn't seen the feller in years. A UK e-mail popped through the old virtual vacuum tube. From Scotland. Not related in the least.

Unrelated web goodies:
The following link for Loose-Id (dot) com was sent in by a client. As I understood it, from a previous discussion, it's a woman-run, I'm trying to remember, electronic-published source of erotica, female, literate erotica.

No jokes about what's up with that. Wile it's a "for profit" business model, it's also more work of love rather than a gig that makes a lot of money. At lest not yet.

But it's such a good idea, too. Perfect model and hopefully for some, a viable outlet.

My question, though, due to its possible content, should I like to it? Not a genre that I read, although, once upon a time, I wrote it. Under a pen name, that's for sure. Made some money from it, too, the "horny scopes," as I used to call them. it's been several years since I've done anything like that, though. Toss a link up on the main page? Or is it too risky?

Saturday fishing
Saturday 4:40 Am came pretty early, but as soon as I realized it was my alarm clock, I was up and out the door, poles in hand.

In the pre-dawn, it didn't feel that cold. It was. Funny thing, too, the day got colder as the sun gradually made an effort to burn the mist off. Didn't succeed entirely, either.

Not that it was bad. I was explaining, it's a like a lot of things in life, as the lake was like glass, the boat running cool and strong, heading back to the ramp, headed towards BBQ and an afternoon nap, it was delightful. Excellent. Catching a fish? That's just, like a bonus or something.

At 50 knots, 45 degrees is cold, that's for sure, but wrapped in a warm cotton cocoon, probably a layer of polyester and a nylon shell? Who cares about the fish? I communed with them, cussed them a few times, and had a grand time.

There was a fraction of a second, a frigid wind icing my sinus cavity, the only time I wore sunglasses, to keep the headwind out of my eyes, just watching the calm lake go skittering by.

January. Fishing. Life is good, just for that moment of peace and tranquility.

As long as we're not breaking ice with the prow, hey, it's got to be better than sitting at home.

Kind of an interesting look, Jesus was a liberal? Even I didn't think of that.

Unrelated Brit Lit notes:
From The Piano Tuner:

"A particularly shocking variant is found mainly among fisherman: the implantation of stones and bells beneath the skin of male genitalia, a practice whose purpose and function continues to elude enquiries by this author." (page 82)

Green Grass and Hight Tides
Just memories: Artist: The Outlaws

Title: Green Grass and High Tides

In a place you only dream of, where your soul is always free

Silver stages, golden curtains, filled my head plain as could be

As a rainbow grew around the sun, all the stars I've loved, who died

Came from somewhere beyond the scene you see, these lovely people played just for me

Now if I let you see this place where stories all ring true

Then will you let me past your face to see what's really you

It's not for me I ask this question as though I were a king

For you have to love, believe and feel, before the burst of tambourines take you there


Green grass and high tides forever

Castles of stone, soul and glory

Lost faces say we adore you

As kings and queens bow and play for you

Those who don't believe me, find your souls and set them free

Those who do, believe and know that time will be your key

Time and time again I've thanked them for a peace of mind

That helped me find myself amongst the music and the rhyme that enchants you there


The question that begat my search for those lyrics and the song itself? It was a comment about another song, and I couldn't remember the artist's name. Marshall Tucker Band, I mean, how hard is that?

I first found this The Oulaws site. Which led to the lyrics, obviously.

Then the official Marshall Tucker site. Which points to the new release, forthcoming.

And that made me think about one of those "must have" CDs, Brothers and Sisters (Allman Brothers).

Is there a coherent theme therein? Southern Rock, from a bygone era. Music that moved, music that broke barriers. Music that mattered. Southern Guitar Army, too. Along with Freebird, but I think I'll skip that one for now. It belongs. But you knew that.

As a little kicker, just to make sure - there's a new Chemical Brothers album, too. So next week, I'll be in line to buy both. Old school southern "rock" and new "techno." Whatever. Music evokes some kind of a response.

I got a surprise at the post office, an unexpected, long-forgotten 1099 arrived. Just a reminder that a corporation did indeed pay last year. Handsomely. More or less.

That company, it wasn't so much work as it was busy work. But somebody had to get paid, might as well have been me. I'd like more jobs like that. Unrelated: I finally found that link for last week's Scorpio scope, the hot sauce referral. Walking in the rain: Got up. Drank coffee. Poked around on the web, doing research. Yes, that's what I call it. Wrote for a spell, and then lay down for a bit, as the rain beat its gentle drum on the aluminum roof. I''ve got a number of projects that require my butt to be in a chair, in front of a computer, but for the life of me, I just couldn't get excited about any of it. Did the software update thing and decided to brave the rain.

The first half of the walk, nay, even the first two-thirds was good. Fun, even. Didn't have a single jogger, runner, manic bicyclist with which to deal. Dropped a package in the post, ambled up towards Congress because that's where the feet seemed to be headed. I was thinking about coffee and so forth.

The old Wendy's at 7th & Congress is now a Texadelphia, and I wanted to try that for a late afternoon lunch. So as a sodden mess, I wandered in, ordered up a meal, and the manager walked over, "Do you play guitar? You look like a guitar player."

Must've been the hat. When I started out, it was amusing to me, as a single drop would drip off the brim, hang there for a second and roll back and forth with my gait, then fall. By the end of the walk? Annoying. I kept adjusting the hat's position so no water would fall in front. On the upside? Sure beats an umbrella.

As I passed one spot where the river meets the trail, I noticed a fish jump. So I was thinking to myself, "Self, it might be a good afternoon to try a little rain fishing."

By the time I got home? The the cuffs were soaked. Shirt cuffs. And the jeans were sticking to my calves, cold, wet denim. Boots? Soaked all the way through. All I could think about was cranking up the heater and being dry. Book note: From The Piano Tuner:

"That there are four classes of auguries: those being the omens from the sky, the omens of flying birds, the omens of feeding fowl, and the omens of the movement of four-footed beasts." (page 53) Excellent food notation: Try the oyster nachos. Much better than they sound. At least I loved 'em. Musical note: Southern Rock Guitar Army? Yeah, coming soon, on any Sunday.

Mac Project status
For longest time, a wish list that might really span more than a decade, I figured what I wanted was basically, a color Mac Plus. In some situations, it could be easily argued that I'm wedded to the form factor, the tiny 9-inch screen, the little box that almost looks like a person, with its, at the time, high resolution graphics, and so on. I always found that the little "compact mac" was a friendly machine. Besides, I've got some custom furniture that's just made for that form factor.

My last compact mac was an SE/30, or as I affectionately called it, an SE/X (Mac II-X-ish motherboard.) I got well over five years and the start of the Fishing Guide to the Stars journals out of that little machine. Five years is a long time, in computer years. It was still working when I finally shipped it off to miss fredlet, as a token of appreciation, and as trophy for her compact mac collection.

By all rights, that should've been an Apple end-of-the-line for the compact mac chassis. It wasn't. Last year, Greg sent me a very dead Macintosh Classic II. 1991 flavor. I toyed with it long enough to determine that it was really dead. Suggested uses included the "mac aquarium" and similar graveyard ideas.

But percolating in the back of my mind, there's always been an idea, a goal, a left over bit of dreaming. Imagine a color screen and modern processor in a compact mac box, just the coolest bit of high-tech gadgetry in this trailer park? As Apple introduced more and more stuff, I got away from any desktop machine, preferring a more mobile arrangement. I did get lots of miles out of the old PowerBook, and I did think about gutting it, and putting its parts into that compact box. The problem was it was more trouble, and required more tooling, than I'm prepared to deal with.

I waited until the rumors became true about the new mini-mac. Then that idea bubbled to the top again. I found a 9-inch (used) color monitor on eBay, cost was $20 plus $20 for shipping. I already have a spare keyboard and mouse (trackball, actually, thank-you-very-much.) I bought a can spray paint last weekend, good for computer cases and similar plastic.

I pulled that compact mac case out of the closet and started to gut it. CRT, drives, motherboard, all gone now. Thanks for the memories, more way than one, as I recall how difficult it used to be to add RAM to those little boxes.

But there's a power supply and a fan, and I was wondering about the rest of the internal framing, what to do after partially gutted the dead Classic II? Then, after I got to playing with just the monitor, I figured I didn't really need to pop it into a different case, it was good enough like it was. But there's the project status. Gutted case and a monitor than should be slipped into that case.

I popped the monitor case apart, briefly, the other evening. Looked at its internals. The good news? I'll bet it would fit in that compact mac case. The bad news? Way more work than I was interested in, especially at the time.

Once upon a time, I'm sure, I would have had this apart and up on the work bench, plastic flying, hot solder running off in rivulets, wee hours of the night, spray mask on, layering on a third coat of lacquer.

I'll still paint the case, and I'll look around, see if there's a good cooling fan to put on the side of the case. If I had more space, I'd have that monitor apart, and I'd be messing around with ideas on how to mount its parts in the compact case. But space is a premium, and those fish might be biting, even if it's just a wee one.


Thursday evening, part of the festivities included stopping at the Apple store, and I finally got to see one of the mini-mac things in person.

Just because
I've used this example a lot lately, so and its original source was the joke list. It came back through again, and I finally got some of my facts straight, although, to be honest, some of this has been debunked over at Snopes:

Does the statement, "We've always done it that way" ring any bells?

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches.

That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used

Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US Railroads.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?

Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

Now the twist to the story...

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory at Utah.

The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass.

Never underestimate the power of a bureaucracy.

Unexpected problems
I should know, I'm in the business of giving advice, and with a software project, this problem is compounded. The rule is, the first 90% of the project takes 90% of the time, and the last 10% takes 90% of the time.

Plus, with that full moon? I just had to try my hand at some bait. Not that I did particularly well, but the fishes are stirring in the waters again.



"What's on your iPod?"

Apple's iLife and iWork? Cheaper through Amazon.

First look? First impression? I wasn't in the shower when the delivery guy showed up.

"Dude, like, you're not in the shower. You knew I was coming by, too."

Way it goes, huh?

Installation was from a DVD, the pesky serial number had to be put in, and I'm not sure I'm liking this that much. Might not be a "MS Word" killer.

But I'll have to get back on that subject, maybe later.

I toyed with the new GarageBand set-up and that seemed fine. Worked well enough to get out a new audio update, but alas, I'm afraid there didn't seem to be a lot of new music loops to play with.

A better review? Check it out, here.

Salvador Dali site.

Very unrelated:
Just imagine how I was going to work that into my title.

Unrelated project notes:
Stripped the guys out of the case. Just in time or so it seems. Picked up black paint last weekend.

Even more unrelated:
Bible timeline. So that's where they get this Gospel stuff?

Texas Blogs
Organized through the Gulf Coast? Yes-sir: cool - Texas Blogs dot net.

The backend of the site, not the whole site, but part of the site is getting some work done. Specifically, the journal software. Which means, this might not be visible same time tomorrow. Might have to change all the links and pointers, although, eventually, I'll get around to setting up the proper redirect. But from sometime Tuesday to sometime Wednesday, the boys in the back room will be cussing up a storm. This time, I swear, I'm not going to lose a single typo.

Movie madness
Via fredlet and from thence to dreama, its source. 12 movie quotes, from Friday?

I could only think of two movies and then, I realized, but of course, that there would be a third one. Always go for that three-way action?

The first movie I quote most often? Repo Man.

Then there's the all-time classic, Duck Soup.

Plus, one that I use rather frequently, Shakespeare's Henry V. And Hamlet. Plus Richard III.

But to list the quotes? From Repo Man? Heck, just the sound track alone is pretty amazing. But almost the whole script is useful, plus the visual humor has a literary touch. If you like early 1980 punk/cult/weirdo material. Songs like "Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole" (Burning Sensations) and the "Repo Man Theme Song" (Iggy Pop) plus "TV Party" (Black Flag). And "Coup D'Etat" (Circle jerks). Consider it an ode to a wasted generation, us, the children of the 80s.

"It's the Repo Code," (delivered by Harry Dean Stanton).

"Wow, that's intense!" (Emilio Estevez).

"Repo Man is always intense" (Harry Dean Stanton).

"Repo Man's got all night (Stanton).

"Did you do a lot of acid in the 60s?" (Estevez)

"It's a lattice of coincidences, like plate. Or shrimp. Or plate of shrimp" (Miller?)

"I don't want to be no Repo Man." (handing him cash) "You already are."

"Let's go do some crimes!"

"Yeah, let's go order sushi and not pay." (Dick Rude - I think).

Plus bits and pieces that seep in the cosmic consciousness, never to be shaken loose, part the material that fills in the racks and empty spaces of the mind. My mind, anyway.

I could fill two pages with quotes from the movie. From the opening, introductory shots of a map, right on through to the final closing scene, it's classic material, born of time when "indy" wasn't cool. Done on a tight budget, and part of the humor is the beer called "beer," and the can of food labeled "food." As the producer explained, they had trouble selling any product placement.

Duck Soup, starring the Marx Brothers. All-time greatest film, all-time greatest war film. There are, actually, scenes from that movie which have been borrowed and used over and over. Plus it's a movie about war.

"Help is on the way."

The panties (way I heard it)
Understand that this will be a graphic tale, with sexual themes, and if you have a delicate constitution, maybe you'd best not read it.

I was sitting at the bar, waiting on some friends to show up. One guy who works there was telling the bartender a story. I listened, then I asked him to repeat the tale because I missed something along the way. This is the gist of the story.

"See, my roommate? He used to play in a band, a punk band. Biggest show they did was like, it was a huge crowd, 600 people. Or even more. And he told this story on stage, swears it's true, I mean if he told everyone in the audience the story, it has to be true, right?

"He'd picked up this girl at show, and she was underage. 17 is what she told him, but she worked at a Mickey D's, so you know she was probably 15. Really good looking, according to my friend, but he also knew she was underage, so he knew he couldn't do anything. He was, they'd just gotten off tour, you know, couch surfing tour? And they'd played a gig, and he was staying at his mom's house.

"The next day, like she was still there, she'd slept with him, but they didn't, like have sex or anything because he knew it was wrong - she was really good looking - they'd made out - but no sex. She had to change to go to work, and he told her to use his mom's bathroom because it was a lot cleaner than his.

"So after she leaves, he goes in his mom's bathroom, and the girl's panties are there on the floor. Little red panties. She changed for work, right? And they were still moist. He told me, 'I put them on my head like Mexican wrestling mask, down there in the basement - I was in heaven - danced around - thinking about that girl.' Because, see, he described her, you know, she was, I guess really good-looking.

"So his mom comes home from work that night, and she asks if he'd seen her little red panties."

True story.


Robert Rankin
I stumbled across Robert Rankin's "Brentford Trilogy" some years ago.

I also started a little out of order, as I'd picked up a copy of a book, classified as British humor, with a cover picture of Elvis toting 7.62 mm Mini-gun, which spews 6,000 rounds per minute. The armament is a running gag in a number of the books. Hey, I bought the novel based on the cover art. It did deliver. Plus that novel introduced me to Sprout-lore.

It's not unlike Douglas Adams or any of the other serial Brits who do almost pointless series that are comedy, and the structure sometimes leaves a little to be desired. And all I recall, as I glance at the bookshelf, is that it starts with The Antipope, and the running gags don't stop. For that matter, I seriously doubt that Rankin's work would ever translate to America because it's quaintly British, in a parochial, provincial manner. And hilarious, at least, to me it's side splitting funny. While I laughed out loud at Torpedo Juice, I smirked through Rankin's latest, Knees Up Mother Earth.

It's an acquired taste, to be sure. It's British. Colloquial British. One has to understand the difference between pint pulled by a traditional part-time barman with a bowtie, and pint pulled by a regular bartender. I can't say that I've ever tasted the brand of choice in the novels, but I've seen my share of the inside of the pubs, and I can grasp some of the subtle nuances of language and flavor.

After all, that's what it's all about, too.

It's just silly material, but I don't mind paying for a richly hardbound copy of the book, at the inflated British prices, because I'll treasure the novel for a while. The main characters in the latest #7 or #9 in the trilogy, Pooley and Omalley are back, and they are burdened with trying to save the world.

But I can't recommend this type of novel for standard issue Americans. It's like redneck jokes, you know, those just don't work in other parts of the country. Who would understand the inherent humor in a title, The Suburban Book of the Dead? (Part of another series, but the characters and places interchange pretty freely.)

There's another side of the Brentford series that's equally amusing, given some of the circles that I've circulated in, there's a number of inside jokes about the esoteric occult. Which gets layered in with bawdy humor, body humor, and a pair of lads who really would like nothing better to do than sit at the bar and have a beer while avoiding hard work. Or work of any sort.

Which is why I find the books so amusing. But then, I have weird tastes.

Friday's freak show
Rhetorical question, what's too long for a running gag?

I was thinking about that as I rolled another sheet of paper in the typewriter, and looked at the blank page. As if. As if I really would use a typewriter. But I was wondering, how long can I stretch a running gag?

I've got a basic text template with all 12 signs. 12 blank spots. A copyright notice, date for the column to run, and that's it. But I thoroughly enjoyed the earlier challenge of matching a horror scope's ending line with the beginning line of the next sign's scope. Just fit. Plus it was a little daunting because I actually use the position the planets and such as a guideline for what will unfold. Trying to match that plus some textual chicanery was good. But can I carry it off for another round? That remains to be seen. But I'm liking the idea. The running gags in the last two books I've read have been funny like that.

I wandered up the street to fetch up a little grub, stopping in the Magnolia Café, greeting an Aries there, grabbing a bite, and wandering off before I had a chance to say good bye. And thank him for the meal. I was supposed to deliver a Leo lecture.

I wandered on homeward through a rather circuitous route, in the fine winter afternoon, and I noticed, on at least three occasions, folks nodded and even said "Hello."

I followed a creek bed and its path to wind back to Shady Acres. Along my route, I noticed - several times - women (cold be young, could be old, all were wearing jeans, with a handkerchief tied in their hair) raking leaves. I thought to myself, "I've got to get one of those, someone to do the yard work around here." Which is what the maintenance guy does. Then I thought, "What a sexist pig, better not write that down." Then I did.

As I neared the trailer park, I spotted a certain delivery truck with a certain driver, and I'm eagerly awaiting a software package. So I asked the driver, and he allowed as he didn't have any packages for me today, but he did have a TV he'd sell me cheap....

I picked up a used monitor - shipping was more than the price of the monitor - on eBay. He doesn't know it, but he will be delivering a something like a TV set soon.

And he's a Sagittarius. Rounds out the fire signs for the day.

Wired Wednesday
Because it was a busy day at the keyboard.

Writing notes:
No morning fish. Weird mix of music. And an idea, a self-made challenge, spurred by weird Brit Lit. Post-modern, very much in the same vein as Douglas Adams, or so I'm assured. I snagged an idea - might have been prompted by Torpedo Juice, as well. The first line of the horoscope has to match the last line of the preceding scope. I was back to reading Robert Rankin's Knees Up Mother Earth, and I decided lift a stylistic option from his canon. And work in some really, applied astrology as well. Bit of fun. Fair puts the wind up you, though.

Apple notes:
Shuffle iPod exposed.

Co-locate your Mini-Mac? (Server side?)

Unrelated idea:
How about "self-loathing Friday"? It was theme I picked up someplace on the web, and I wondered if it would work for a Friday theme song. I've got Manic Monday, Two-Meat Tuesday, Weird Wednesday, Three-Meat Thursday, and then, "Self-Loathing Friday"?

I'll work on it. Needs some kind of an adjustment.

Damn, I've got to write a short ad.

"South Austin-based astrologer, quirky, wryly amusing, seeks clients for phone, in-person, or email readings. See website for details. www.astrofish.net"

Unrelated web snark:

HITMAN - Once we take your deposit, your fish is as good as dead!

The point of diminishing returns?
Writing/working strategies?

When the sky is a
hazy shade of winter

Every time I stepped out to the river's edge, the south-easterly wind gently stirring the lake's surface, I kept thinking it was cold. At least it was a wet cold. So as I headed south for an evening of readings, I grabbed a coat, snugged a hat down low, and stuck in the earphones - weird, weird combination of music I chose.

Most interesting tidbit captured from the evening?

"Yeah, a guy backed into me. A friend pulled the dent out. Insurance paid a lot. My friend who pulled the dent out? He told me I won the Mexican lottery."

Unrelated ad bits:
(Hint: this probably isn't sanctioned by VW)

New ad campaign?

Duck Soup.

Damn, I've got to write a short ad.

"South Austin-based astrologer, quirky, wryly amusing, seeks clients for phone, in-person, or email readings. See website for details. www.astrofish.net"

Torpedo Juice
First novels usually exhibit a kind of enthusiasm - an exuberance - a certain willingness on the part of the author to bend conventions. Take risks. There's an excitement that most first novels have that is rarely matched, as authors age and grow with their craft. To be sure, most first novels have flaws that more seasoned and polished novelist doesn't have. Look at the excitement generated by that first book, though, and how the excitement itself overrules the flaws like plotting, or minor inconveniences like the laws of physics or psychology get warped a bit for the sake of the tale.

Florida Roadkill was one such novel. As a first novel, it careened along with a breath-taking, manic pace that was sheer pleasure to read. I can't personally document all the facts about Florida, but there's every reason to suspect that it's true. All true.

Tim Dorsey - in person - last year when he was on book tour was so disappointing. He seemed so normal. Just a genuine nice guy, like a non-descript neighbor. Nothing odd. No quirks or ticks, easy-going, entertaining. Almost quiet. Normal. So normal it was almost painful. Okay, it was painful. As an author, I expected Tim to cut a more dashing figure. I was looking at the author - the person who created Serge Storms - and I expected to see some of the character's inherent, intrinsic attitudes reflected in the author. Couldn't detect any of it on the outside.

(Don't get me wrong: Mr. Dorsey is a nice guy with a great sense of humor. But he looked so normal. He did have a group pile in the trunk of his rent car, just for the sake of a photo-op.)

Along with that expectation that Tim would be some sort of madman, I've come to expect that authors tone done and sharpen their material, but that the lively action meandering plot lines tend to tighten up. As the authors and characters therein mature, I expect a decline in the vibrancy of the writing.

Tim's own comment, during that book tour? Something along the lines of, "I realized that no one would buy the book, so I wrote it for me."

When I picked a copy of Torpedo Juice, I'm rather happy to report, once again, my expectations have failed to materialize. So maybe the author looks like a normal guy - the latest Serge story is every bit as good as it gets. The manic pace, the improbable command of history, the pacing that rockets along, careening out of control - or so it would appear.

If there's one element, more important than anything else, that has to be in a good book like this? I laughed - out loud - startled the cat, and that's something few authors can do, and in Dorsey's case? Or really, Serge the character? Over an over.

That's a winner.

But I know Tim's birthday, and he's not really old enough to be quoting Firesign Theater jokes, not from its original context. That caused a brief, momentary bit of cognitive dissonance.

The book I read was an advance reading copy, for review purposes. I picked it up under dubious conditions. However, I'll be in line to purchase a nice, hardback version, as soon they are available. I'll be interested to see how certain elements are treated, and whether or not those selfsame elements are given further editorial touch. Good enough to read twice?

A rollicking good ride like this? Plus a half dozen spots that are sure to