Xmas notes
Is nothing sacred?
Deer Hunters look out?
Unclear on messages:

Take Dip - this mean, me?

Always a dependable newspaper:
Trust the Chronicle - and good reporting is why.

Ice Cream Maker:
Perfect Xmas gift for a family that has everything but a decent recipe for ice cream.

Order an ice cream maker online. Great idea, have it shipped with "do not open until xmas" which, bless my dear little mother's heart, she couldn't resist. The packaging had obviously been tampered with. What are you going to do? At this age, they just don't listen to instructions very well.

So, in order to appease Sister's California leanings, I modified the original recipe and added "organic" in front of the ingredients.

Opened the package right before Xmas dinner and got to work whipping up ice cream. Yeah. Wasn't quite done by dessert time. But almost.

Coffee notes:
Says it all.

Boot black:
I tend to get my boots shined when I'm 1) wearing boots and 2) passing through an airport with an active boot shining person. Dallas Airport (Dallas Love Field, please). Two guys were working the other afternoon, after Xmas. I stopped. Hopped up, got my shoes shines while I watched the people pass through the terminal. What I saw? One of the shoe shine guys was idle, and he called an offer to temporarily adrift tourist guy - the wife and kid were in the bathroom.

"Oh no, my wife would never allow such an extravagance," the guy said.

The two guys, the one shining my boots, I believe his name tag read "Mr. Gonzalo," made a comment in Spanish.

"Como?" I queried.

And in translation, the comment was something untoward about American males. Can't say as I blame him - the tourist guy? Seemed a little whupped.

Johnny Cash sings about it, perhaps the best, a quick shine, helps improve the outlook.

Holiday transcripts.
I can't make this stuff up.

"I'm wheat free, gluten free, non-caffeinated, sugar-free vega," Sister said..

And yes, she had another Egg Nog Latte to wash down the roast. Roast. Dead cow.

Ma Wetzel:

"Honey," my wee Scorpio mother was explaining to her husband (my father, oddly enough), "I couldn't remember what size you wore."

He mentioned a numeric size.

Ma Wetzel:

"They only have small, medium, large, extra large, bulk and tent."


"Do you have burgers the shape of California?"


"No, we just have an idiot for governor."


"Break a leg."


"Yeah, it's now easier to put his foot in his mouth."

I come by it naturally. It's genetic.

What was I thinking?
Odd stuff, for sure.

Astrology note:
As if anything would explain it all.Fitting?

Take that pesky elf things.

Why I don't trust them things. Or ask for directions.

Xmas images
Pink flamingo, yeah , that's an xmas image, along with an inflatable cactus, draped with lights. And hot sauce, warm enough to make the metal spoon sweat.

But it was funny
I was being my usual demur self, and the folks at the party - one Gemini in particular - kept going on and on about an old Cheech & Chong Xmas bit.

Took a bit of digging, but I found it, had to run by El Cheapo Disks, but there it was, the over-sized double album, two CD set. In a box.

Te one Santa Claus and his old lady, that one bit served up much entertainment for the rest of the afternoon. Cheech y Chong, argues well for a evidence of a misspent youth. Not that it matters, but I do live like a monk. No, really.

The night before Xmas
It's an old tale, I've told and retold the story, and the funny part, to me, is it's a true story. No, I'm not making this one up. But I did use part of it in a horoscope.

The way the story goes, see, I've got this bad habit. When I'm wandering through the big department store, in the mall, and this could be just about anywhere, I try and spray on those free samples of expensive perfume. Girl smell. The samples, they are free, that's just an invitation to use. Or abuse, kind of depends.

So the back end of the story is this, one guy, his nickname is "Bubba," he had stopped at the mall. I was in tow. At that time, been a few long years, he was seeing this girl who lived in another state. Way far away. Like Arkansas or something. She was set to fly in that very evening, and he was at the mall, like a dutiful boyfriend, just days before Xmas, to pick her up one last gift.

Thoughtful guy. Nice gesture. Bad move, taking me.

The purchase was obviously made in the "women" department of the store at the mall. That's where I had a chance to wander, in amongst the little displays, and, as usual, I found myself testing what the testers had offered. Being, basically, a white suburban child of a certain age, the mall is familiar territory. Being stuck while a buddy shops in the all-female section, that's a little different. One must amuse one's self.

I started sampling perfumes, as is my wont. I think I had ten or twelve brands, up and down my arms. My buddy got whatever it was he was getting, and we hopped back in his car. Some comments were exchanged.

He drops me, and he goes on to the airport to pick up the arriving girlfriend.

She hops in the car, takes one whiff, and asks who the girl was riding before her.

"Kramer, it was Kramer, no really, it was him.,..."

If I recall, I had to call up and explain why I was wearing thirteen different shades of perfume.

You know
It wasn't really like that.

"Kramer, his name, e-mail address, like, it's right next to Kristina, so I emailed her, thinking I'd hit 'Kramer,' and asked if he would charge me if I asked a question.

"Kristina, of course, replied, 'No, of course not, I'll answer you're question.'"

She's good like that. I don't charge for questions, just answers.

Oh, Xmas Tree
It's the Xmas tree, all set up. I tried pictures at night, that didn't work, so I did one in the afternoon, between whatever else I was doing.

The results speak highly to a misspent youth. That's all. Schlepping: Or maybe sherpa, I don't know. Top 100 places according to some. Sinking to a new low? Or is this just the decline of civilization? At least we're going down in style. Road notes: Tell me this is a joke. Please.

Always something
With holy wars and bloody politics, it's always a relief to find something different to write about.

I'd put this under a "Texas Rules" category, but I'm not sure where that would fit in the grander scheme of things. However, while I was looking for ground chuck, I found Texas-shaped burgers. Pressed. Farmed. Formed. Ready to cook and enjoy. Meat patties in the shape of the state. Are there any meat patties in the shape of, say, Iowa? Arizona? New Hampshire? Although, to be fair, New Hampshire does have a cool slogan on their state plates. I also have clients with larger spreads than the whole state of New Hampshire.

New wrappers
I'm trying to remember all the metaphors and slang for that one. As I understand it, and I could have this all wrong, I put a new wrapper on the weekly video. It was wrapped on a quicktime 7 envelope. Now it's in a - an - MPEG-4 enclosure.

Self-enclosed, stand-alone Qucik-Time video. With streaming-hints. Here (paid subscribers, only).

That should take care of that. Or not.

But at least it's not Flash. Unrelated: I can't respond in an e-mail, and I can't give them any traction in other form, but I must suggest, darling, real Christians don't spam.

Long haul
Then there are days when my faith in humanity is restored. I only wish I could afford one of these. Then again, maybe not. But it's a cool idea.

The long haul the title refers to? All about that long haul from Xmas to Jan 1. Family, friends, and short trip elsewhere. Don't count on me for much more than scopes as usual. Xmas to myself: Armin Van Buren, Ten Years. Opens with a the electric strains of Fanfare for the Common Man, I think. Oh yes, now we can really play "name that track." I have the original, in my computer (and on a CD, like, someplace).

Looked him up, and the name's Armin Van Buuren. Two U. Trance DJ. Oh, so that's why I was spaced out.

Pleasant reprieve from Billy Idol singing Xmas songs all night long.

Flowers. On the path.

Note to self Look here.

What a drag
This is just so scary, to me. I wish the author all the luck, tho. First, there was the book, then the movie, which I must admit, I've seen the trailers. Not much interest here from me. Then this review.

I wasn't tickled until I got to the part in the review about the metaphors.
To quote from the review: "The business about riding dragons would appear to be a veiled metaphor for the rigours of sex." That was the first amused gasp.

In the same paragraph, a line or two down from the sexual metaphor suggestion, the real nature of the relationship is explained: "It seems unfair, though, that if the rider dies she dies, whereas if she dies he’s just depressed for the rest of his life."

At that point, I stopped. I had no intention of buying the book, or books, and I had no intention of seeing the movie. But now? I'm even less interested.m The best part was the explanation that that "riding the dragon" is no longer an illicit drug allusion, it's now about sex.

And if your dragon dies? That's just wrong, you die, dragon dies. Dragon dies? And you're just depressed. Maybe this is a veiled drug reference.

Just a quick question
Podcasts. How many people really listen to those hour-long casts? Do folks really download that noise and put it on an iPod, then listen to it? I have yet to find a pdocast that would hold my interest past three to five minutes. Which is what I limit mine to.

I'll admit, this last few weeks, the weekly missive has been kind of lame, but then, the stars are kind of tame. Way it goes. There's been an equipment change, and while change is good, it's taken some adjustments to get everything to work correctly again. And then, there's the persistent studio problem. Not sure how this office will work out.

Unrelated: I just love Texas. More fun & toys:
Top ten toys. Just in time.

That "latte art" piece.

And why: There will be no home espresso here.


Fishing Guide to the Stars 2007 Calendar is here.


Advent calendars y mas
Some days, I wonder what's the difference between me and the panhandler.

The debate was sparked by a comment, a regular, faithful contributor and reader, had laughed at the note about the yearly subscription fee notice - linked from the regular subscriber notice.

"This makes me giggle, like you really don't want to do it."

Which, if you have to know the truth, yes and no, little of both. It's one transaction in a year. It's harder to keep track of those and when to bill again. Then if the yearly fee was less than the monthly fee, wouldn't I lose a lot of monthly subscribers? Or wouldn't long-term subscribers feel bad about over-paying?

As it works out, monthly subscription, over a year, is $35.40. Of that, I see - varies on the payment due to a number of factors - about $30. From what I've seen, most weekly websites charge around the same price, well, except for horoscopes. Those are either free, or there's a price. From what I've seen, I'm about half to a quarter the price of most horoscope sites. Not that it matters.

Then, too, there's an ethical question, about doing it a year at a time. Should I charge for something that's, as of yet, not done? So a year-long subscription, it's more like a gamble than a magazine subscription.


Usually, there's a theme that runs along a group of people. I'm used to families and group dynamics.

I worked at a party Saturday night, and one Sagittarius kept circling back, telling me I could use his story. The theme ran towards Capricorn, with, and I can't make this stuff up, like, about dozen Capricorn all in a row, Saturday afternoon and evening. This started to get a little better, as that Sagittarius broke the string.

"No, man, true story," he was telling me, "and you can use it."

("True story" means it's hearsay, and inadmissible in a court.)

He represented a defendant, charged with bestiality. Seems as the defendant was dressing the doe (a deer, a female deer) in woman's lingerie before the act.

I'm pretty sure the idea is covered in at least two books, a John Updike novel and another, more local, Buck Fever.

I mentioned the books, and the Sagittarius was telling me, yeah, might have been the case.

But it wasn't just deer - gives a whole new meaning to jerk chicken.

More signs

Even more (xmas) images

More (xmas) images

Snow globe
But wait, there's more, much more:

(Click to play)

Fave Xmas image

There hangs a tale, I'm sure.

Jupiter's hours
There's a little coffee shop I stumbled into, quite by accident, in San Antonio. It's called "Jupiter," or maybe its real name is much longer like, "Jupiter Java & More," or something akin to that, but for the sake of brevity? Jupiter.

Jupiter is run by a young couple, the guy? Sagittarius. Better yet, a lovely wife person (Pisces).

Better than a Sagittarius, hence the name, is the coffee. Closest taste I've found to real coffee since, well, that one place in Dallas, and that chain in Seattle.

The hours at Jupiter are a little spotty, and I'll only stop in when I'm on my way through from one place to another, but the coffee is well-worth a detour off the freeway. The hours, the sign says, basically, the store is open from 7 in the morning until three in the afternoon.

Perfect business hours. Do one thing. Do it well. Consistently. And don't try to do too much. Can't please all the people, but we can please ourselves.

At Jupiter, to really understand the coffee? Order a single or double espresso. Looks like a little miniature glass of Guinness. Like it should. That's some mighty fine, ulta-smooth sippin' coffee.

Tenacious miscellany
Saw the Jack Black film, "Tenacious D and the pick of destiny."

Good, if you like pot humor. Excellent, for the pot humor. And thinking about it the next morning I realized that there is a very literary side to the film. Spoiler warning: The opening sequence, the preamble, was hugely hilarious to me. I don't even partake of the illicit drugs, but I found the cannibis-fueled humor fresh and enjoyable. THC: the audience is baked.

I'm not baked, a least, not by those standards. But for some escape? It's worth the ticket price. Doubt it will ever be a smash hit, but at least Jack Black gets to be JB in the movie.

The plot follows the protagonist, as he cast from his home, and as he sets upon the world, in search of his destiny. Mere mortal. He encounters he someone who claims to be his teacher, another mere mortal, and they seek their destiny. A wise old man sends them to the museum, and a vixen along the way tries to beak up the dynamic duo.

There is a journey to the underworld, an object of great importance is found, the supernatural is invoked, there is battle with great evil, and, of course, the the good guys win.

The parallel themes, mostly with a Joseph Campbell spin, including a decent into the underworld and battle with supernatural forces, only to return with boons to bestow on mankind? I don't know if it was an intentional riff, or accidental, but it worked. Well, for a guy like me, it worked. Fart jokes, F-bombs, fading rock stars. Got them all. And a traditional literary arc. Unrelated: But yet another good reason to avoid gator-inested water (but that could just be my own fears). What they know? Or, at the very least? Now required to store? Home for:
the Holidays. Sex and the survey: I just wonder who pays for this stuff:

"Studies have shown that while a man will think about sex every 52 seconds, the subject tends to cross women's minds just once a day, the University of California psychiatrist says."

And this is new information?

Smells like Xmas Spirit
Billy Idol, remember him? The sneer? The crossover post-punk, pre-new-wave, whatever? Sure. We can all sing "White Wedding," and the more recent "Devil's Playground." Maybe not so much on the more recent stuff. This is just so: Words escape me.

Burt, to be honest, it's a nicely done Xmas album.

More Austin than Austin
Mad Hatters - South San Antonio....

I was there for some birthday breakfast. And while it's a regular menu item, or so it seems from my limited purview, I indulged. Lamb & Eggs. It's two peppered lamb chops with two poached eggs. And the usual breakfast stuff. Seeing as how it was the birthday meal, and I was going to enjoy it, I had the pancake option, too. A single buttermilk pancake with banana slices cooked into it.

Aquarius guy behind the counter, Aries server, and that odd Scorpio, floating in and out someplace.

The place is a cross between "dive" with its mismatched coffee mugs, and "classy joint," with its linen napkins. The price is someplace between cheap and expensive, with those Lamb & Eggs running around ten bucks, but a simple plate of pancake costing only a dollar (or so).

Free WiFi, unfortunately, the coverage is spotty at certain places in the restaurant. But there's still some semblance of civilization, as I know it. Odd staff, knowledgeable and friendly, but a tad on the weird side, especially by local standards. Then there's ambiance, perfectly casual. Suits and surfers, all can mingle.

The menu is suitably eclectic, too. Along with Lamb& eggs, there's the requisite granola types of food. Vegan, even. Apparently, there's a 2 4 1 special on burgers, Monday night? Sirloin or veggie burger, either way....


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit)


Copyright 2006 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.

More Austin than Austin
Mad Hatters - South San Antonio....

I was there for some birthday breakfast. And while it's a regular menu item, or so it seems from my limited purview, I indulged. Lamb & Eggs. It's two peppered lamb chops with two poached eggs. And the usual breakfast stuff. Seeing as how it was the birthday meal, and I was going to enjoy it, I had the pancake option, too. A single buttermilk pancake with banana slices cooked into it.

Aquarius guy behind the counter, Aries server, and that odd Scorpio, floating in and out someplace.

The place is a cross between "dive" with its mismatched coffee mugs, and "classy joint," with its linen napkins. The price is someplace between cheap and expensive, with those Lamb & Eggs running around ten bucks, but a simple plate of pancake costing only a dollar (or so).

Free WiFi, unfortunately, the coverage is spotty at certain places in the restaurant. But there's still some semblance of civilization, as I know it. Odd staff, knowledgeable and friendly, but a tad on the weird side, especially by local standards. Then there's ambiance, perfectly casual. Suits and surfers, all can mingle.

The menu is suitably eclectic, too. Along with Lamb& eggs, there's the requisite granola types of food. Vegan, even.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit) Just random images
East of I-35. Much easier to explain that way.

More Austin than Austin
Cheryl's - Rockport/Fulton, TX. On the Third Coast.

It across the street from an RV park, home to the "Winter Texans," and the art on the walls is odd, to say the least. The boss, nominally Cheryl, is a little odd, even by island standards.

Behind it, just past the back patio at Cheryl's, there's the entrance to the marina at Fulton. The Fulton Harbor

"How'd you find this place?"

"Girl at work, she was in Port A, at the Circle K. Asked about a restaurant. Guy behind the counter told her that she really should drive over here, it was worth the trip."

Cheryl's has always been a little spotty in the warmth department. But, I'm sure, there's a reason for that. On the last trip, on the back of Cheryl's menu, there was a long, sort of like a laundry list, "Top Reasons Why You May Not Like Cheryl's Place And Why We'd Prefer You Not Be here."

There's a (local) political comment, a rant about all things that chain stores are, and the concluding suggestion that if you don't see the humor? Might not be the right place.

On one occasion, and I'm sure I've written about this before, the Guacamole was so perfectly presented, I'll order it every time, just trying to see if I can get it again. That one time, the little red-colored chips were arranged just like petals of a rose, so it was a chip-rose with an avocado heart. So perfectly rendered as to resemble nature, and yet, delicious, too.

I've brought in fish before, and in the past, Cheryl herself has made a loud noise about not cleaning the fish. Didn't think about having her clean the fish, but that's just me. Apparently, some patrons - in the past - have thought otherwise. So two Redfish made for two meals. The first time, it was "St. Pete's style" and the second time, at the behest of the cook, it was a sharp "Jerk" flavor.

Never disappointing, and always relaxed. Interesting art on the walls, too.

I fished the long lis of "Why we'd prefer you not to be here," out of the back of one of the menus, and asked if I could steal it. Cheryl told me to put that back in the menu and then brought me another copy of the diatribe.

Cheryl? She's Virgo. (Yeah, one of them).

A week later
I had to dig for the whole
story, but it was worth it.

"FBI agents, who will take over the investigation, bagged up the rest of the powder to take to Austin to be identified, he said."

I just couldn't help but giggle at that line. Bagged it up and sent it to Austin for testing. Sure.

Coastal wrap-up
Just odds and ends.

View from a boat.

The missing picture.

Trout (speckled)

Small Redfish.

Two-fish Thursday

Thursday, it's families and the requisite turkey with dressing, and all the fixings. All the good stuff. Then, the slow lane from Austin to the Gulf Coast.

But first, a quick hit of my parents. Then a close-up of the wall behind them.

Something iconic, I do believe.

Cherchez les poissons:

Part Uno:

Redfish and Speckled Trout, just for a Thursday night warm up.

Cherchez les poissons: Part Two:

Dinner. One of two Redfish while out Friday, so Thursday was a two-fish day, and Friday was a two-fish day.

Friday's fish were keepers. Some them. The rest? That's a tale for another time.

Two-meat Tuesday

Some days you're the bug and some days you're the windshield. How it's going to feel, no?

Happy Feet: I wanted a break. I wanted a movie that didn't have death, dismemberment, and dark lords of the underworld in it. Yeah, so I was the only unattended adult-aged person in the audience. Might've been a little creepy, but the tickets were cl;early marked PG. And it was a cartoon. Just a silly, feel good cartoon.

T-day and more" Parental units in town for the big day, but Thursday afternoon, while everyone else is religiously watching football, I'll be headed towards the Gulf Coast, get in a little fishing.

Hold the horses: Found what I was looking for: a book about a town, specifically, the historical caulking.

Guadalupe (et al)

The image was in the market, just down the road. I couldn't help but sneak a snapshot which is probably violating any one of a number of copyright rules. Not that it matters. What's the image? And what's the story?

The Virgen de Guadalupe? That's a powerful Aztec, or Aztlan, or Mestizo, or Mexican, or Pan-American or whatever image. Goddess. From the old school.

I'm sure this will be interpreted - or was probably intended - some other way, but as an image, I can see the Roman Catholic Church suckling at the breast of the Goddess of the new world. Now, if I could only find it done on black velvet, my art collection would be complete.

Yeah, I know, I'm a little weird. But in this town? Who's to notice?

Royal Casino
I'm not, like, a big {Oh-Oh-Seven) fan. Not against the franchise, just not a big paying customer. So I wandered into the mall and caught an early Sunday matinee, for the rare price of $4. Half the face value of the regular show. Way more than a movie is really worth, but bargain shopping is bargain shopping.

Movie started, like at 10:15, scheduled time. Only, I was already late, but the cashier assured me that there was another five minutes of previews. More like another half hour, at least that's what my watch suggested.

Once the movie itself started, the opening graphics were heavily reworked and reanimated and surprisingly engaging. Then the show started and it was almost an hour, maybe more before I had a stunning realization: I needed to go to the bathroom, and I wasn't about to leave the movie until the end.

My expectations of a James Bond movie, especially a reworked film, is simple. Guns, bombs, fisticuffs, gratuitous violence, maybe some fun gadgets, more guns, a car chase, and some hand to hand fighting. Reality and realistic are not too important. But it was all believable enough. Besides, the P-test? Didn't get up until the credits rolled. Good movie, certainly worth the matinee price.

Just odd, collected bits.

Coming and going: Cant be .

Top ten:

Good girls gone bad. Can't agree, but whatever.

More embarrassing: More than a Top Ten list. Signs of the apocalypse:
Dogs and cats. Sometimes, I just wonder.

Images, yet again

Images, again

I don't see how this can really be true, but whatever.

Farming websites: Cool Arrow dot org Humble oils dot com Bexar County Line dot com The Bexar County Line was the coolest I just expected it to be taken already.

Unrelated: Dead Sea .

More unrelated: I'm thinking, charity, right? I'm all for them giving away Jesus action figures. Beggars shouldn't be choosers.

Two-Meat Tuesday

I should run a subtitle that indicates epiphany or, at the very least, somehow links with "Two turntables and a microphone." Where I was at, an Amy's ice cream, last Saturday night, after dark. After work. After dinner. Amy's on Guadalupe, quintessentially local flavor.

There's a sidebar item that needs attention. On the front door, among a virtual cornucopia of stickers, one item caught my eye, a minimalist, slightly abstract version of the "Virgen de Guadalupe" and the line, "In Guad We Trust." Never seen it before, but a strong, post-modern message. Must have item.

I stepped up onto the the little riser in front of the ice cream scooper. A tired guy behind the counter looked at me, "Be with you in a minute," as, I'm sure, he's used to adult-sized children. I bounced off the riser. I stepped back up. A fresh Amy's employee bounded in from the back room, "Hi! How can I help you! Want to try some ice cream!"

Young, blonde, blue eyes, Sagittarius-sized all the way around. I had to ask, she was a November Sagittarius. The very best. Not that I'm partial, but I am. She was vibrant, a stray lock of hair, falling out from behind the purple-shaded bandana, that single lock of hair looked to have been cherry red in the recent past.

"Where it's at, two turntables and a microphone...."

"I really shouldn't dance," I noted, and has been noted, on numerous occasions.

"Oh but you should dance, movement is a joyous expression!" and the girl behind the counter proceeded to bust a very awkward move. Terribly white, for lack of better reference.

She stuck her butt in one direction, did a little move, again, suggesting that perhaps she has a solidly anglo heritage, and said, "Dance like no one is watching."

I perk up as only a November Sagittarius girl can perk me up.

The ensuing conversation, slightly one-sided. And then there was the dancing. Behind the counter, she reminded me of what I looked like, almost exactly, when I was her age. Only, I was misguided, and I thought I was cool. Not just cool, but cool and hip. Suave. She looked like I did, and she was goofy. Being female, she could pull it off with a certain "je ne sais quoi;" however, I realized, all those cool years? Goofy. Just goofy.

It was both a disheartening and sad occasion, for me. Years of mental stud-muffin status shattered, in a single arrhythmic move. That was the epiphany, in Amy's on a Saturday night in Austin.

I know I'm not cool, not now, but even then? Years of illusions, down the drain, illusions gone forever, shattered in one Sagittarius dance move. It was horrible. The ice cream, however, was good.

Mercurial tales
I quit writing funny stories about Mercury in Retrograde because they all became too common. I never developed an effective vaccine, but awareness counts for much.

Just wished I'd thought about that when the Ditch-Witch cranked up in front.

Didn't think they'd cut the cable, as in the the little virtual vacuum tubes that carry the inter-web guys around.

So service has been spotty, and it's not like I can jump on a neighbor's wireless, either, since, well, all the lines are down.

I hardly find the cable - and phone - lines being cut as directly attributed to Mercury.


Images, the sequel

I'm afraid to look.
I wonder how long I can wander, untainted, and unaffected?

The news - over all - doesn't seem so bad. But as I watching the Texas race for governor, I kept wondering, no one I know voted for Parry. No one. At all.

So who did vote for the guy?

Unrelated good news: Together again?

Unrelated taxonomy: How are tech workers classified?

eek Gods, or just foreign devils?

If you're not part of the problem then you participate?
Or my favorite Texas tag?

Vote early.

Vote often,

Leaving Central Texas
If only for a weekend, does that really count as a road trip? All sort of depends.

Again, the denial must be registered, I did not get married at the Bass Pro Shop in Las Vegas, under a canopy of fishing poles, officiated by an Elvis.

Now, the rumors about the Vegas showgirl? Lies, all lies - I live like a monk.

One of the passengers, a media person of note, was pointing out that Vegas is the most honest town in America.

"Sure, check it out, the odds for the game are posted, right on the machine, right at the table. There is no illusion. Sex? Hookers are legal. Who said money can't buy love? Most honest town, not pretending to be something that it's not."

Yeah, well, thinking about it, sure.

Stayed at the Silverton Lodge, Casino and Bass Pro Shop. Off the strip, on the highway. Noted that the cab fare from the strip back to the Silverton is higher than the cab fare from the airport. I'm not sure what that means.

Saw a T-shirt I must have, TCU played UNLV, and in line, waiting on cab, there she was: Purple shirt, the simple message? "Horned Frog Football." I didn't realize that the Frogs were playing Castigating demons: Really, now, this doesn't work. Tends to backfire, really, in a nasty way. Or backfire, in a really nasty way.

Even moore.

Unrelated to anything:
Why there should be more catch and release. Further predictions: I will get one of these.

Images XV

Images XIV

Images XII

Images XI

Images X

FWIW Department
The sequel?

Can you hear me now?
Radio waves from space? (Dear Lord, make the ad stop.)

In brackets:
Six (6) word stories. "Houston, we have a problem."

In Latin:
Mea mecum porto.
Stolen goods:
So they say.

Apple matters:
Just a quicj hit on ten points.

WSJ's Mossberg says: "The current Mac operating system, called Tiger, already contains most of the key features promised for Windows Vista." (here)

Thus spake:
Culled from Jobs himself.

Save the Children:
Irony? Satire? Or maybe a shred of truth?

Sez you:

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Vote Kinky

Damn right, I voted. I walked two miles, uphill, in the rain. Just to vote. Vote early ("Vote early, vote often" is a Texas tradition).

What prompted me? I got a call on the landline, and it was Republican campaign. It held nothing back, It was sordid tale about child abuse, and how a certain Lt. Gov. Candidate would enact legislation to prevent this from happening again. As a career politician, he's done nothing to speak of, just hitching onto the latest ticket to get attention - pure sleaze.

I voted, and I was angry. It was a hot button ad. One of those pre-recorded telephone calls. I can sincerely hope that the candidate rots in hell for letting his campaign use such a tactic.

In one sense, the call did get me out. Did get me to vote. But it also backfired. I can only hope there are more sentient beings voting these days. I even had to wait in line to cast a ballot. That's a good sign.

I don't suppose my vote for governor is any secret, though. Can't say that I'm not supporting the Scorpio cause, though.

I commented to one election official that I'd walked, uphill, in the rain, just to vote. She quipped back, "carrying your lunch, too."

Made me smile.

(For What It's Worth) Department...

I'm all for the return of the Latin Mass (but I'm just funny that way).

You can't be serious?

I was proof reading an upcoming horoscope. I got down to a certain sign, and guess what? Blank! I left it that way.

This just in: sex sells.

Latin Mass, now Kingly Latin for the masses.

Yeah, well, whatever. Cowboy rehab.

Rap songs, translated...

Images IX

Images VIII

Images VII

Images VI

Kinky bits
Vote, I mean, how hard can it be? The guy's a Scorpio - the job will get done.50 points about all of them.

C'mon, he can't screw it up any worse than professional politicians.

Mac bits:

Save your soul
Check it out:
"Let's face it," he said. "As iconic emblems of kitsch, there are two pillars of cheesy, campiness in the American pantheon. One is the velvet Elvis. The other is the pink flamingo."
Data file

Via TFG.

What grabbed my attention? I support both pillars of cheese.

Useless trivia
More useless games we play.

Name: Kramer Wetzel
Birthday: Thanskgiving Day
Birthplace: East Texas
Current Location: Central Texas
Eye Color: bluish.
Hair Color: brownish.
Height: 6'.
Right Handed or Left Handed: right.
Your Heritage: sadly solidly anglo.
The Shoes You Wore Today: sandals.
Your Weakness: BBQ
Your Fears: Earthquakes,
Your Perfect Pizza: Jalapeno & anchovy.
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: another book in print.
Your Most Overused Phrase: "What's your birthday?"
Thoughts First Waking Up: Coffee.
Your Best Physical Feature: hair.
Your Bedtime: midnight
Your Most Missed Memory: can't remember.
Pepsi or Coke: coke.
MacDonalds or Burger King: McD's, at 6 AM, pre-fish. Those breakfast sandwich things.
Single or Group Dates: group.
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Ice tea.
Chocolate or Vanilla: Mexican Vanilla.
Cappuccino or Coffee: espresso!
Do you Swear: hell yes.
Do you Sing: not so much.
Do you Shower Daily: yes.
Have you Been in Love: yes.
Do you want to go to College: More?
Do you want to get Married: no. Yes. The idea is appealing.
Do you believe in yourself: yes
Do you get Motion Sickness: no
Do you think you are Attractive: no
Are you a Health Freak: not so much.
Do you get along with your Parents: yes.
Do you like Thunderstorms: yes.
Do you play an Instrument: no.
In the past month have you Smoked: yes.
In the past month have you gone on a Date: no.
In the past month have you gone to a Mall: no.
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos: no
In the past month have you eaten Sushi: no. But I did have some fresh bait.
In the past month have you been on Stage: no.
In the past month have you been Dumped: no.
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping: no.
In the past month have you Stolen Anything: no.
Ever been Drunk: yeah, numerous times.
Ever been Beaten up: not yet.
Ever Shoplifted: childhood indiscretion.
How do you want to Die: (private).
What do you want to be when you Grow Up: writer.
What country would you most like to Visit: UK.
Number of Piercings: ears, two right, one left.
Number of Tattoos: none

Images V
Good cents:
Yarg, not that funny. But here's the link

Images IV
Idle music:
Can't explain it, but for some reason, it was just a morning for listening to Billy Idol. All that sounded good. And "Dancing With Myself" is originally attributed to Billy Idol's first band, Generation X. Which is funny, in a hugely ironic way, as Billy Idol is too old to be Gen X.

Thanks, Waylon:
"Straightin' the curves, flattin' the hills,
Some day the mountain might get them but the law never will...."

Images III
Thanks, Warren:
"I'm hiding in Honduras, I'm a desperate man,
Send lawyers, guns and money, the shit has hit the fan."

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

Images II

Thanks, Johnny:
"I can change harmonicas faster than kiss a duck."

Thanks, Steve Austin:
"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology."

TangerineInteresting idea so I gave it a spin.

What Tangerine does? It analyzes the content of the iTunes library, on-board here, and then it generates a additional listings. I like the idea that it's got the bpm, and the beat intensity. Almost useful - if I only listened that much.

Personally, I prefer the semi-random shuffle.

Images I

Thanks, Joe Ely:
"He rode the hard country, down the New Mexico line."

Signs, really.

Home away from home
Just a quick shot.

Two-Meat Tuesday

El Paso, TX: I was hanging out in the garage, Monday morning. I had thought cross my mind, and I found it worthy of note. Seems that scenery, it reminded me of something, a scene from the opening credits to a popular cartoon series. Not that popular of a series, but a good show. The opening scene for "King of the Hill."

Grace's husband, Bubba, he was drinking a Mountain Dew. The neighbor wandered from across the street, gripping a cup of coffee, and the the guys were discussing the other neighbor's back,. Which had gone out, and Grace, being who she is, obviously knows a better healthcare provider (massage therapist) to deal with the pain.

But it all goes back to that cartoon, and guys, just being guys, hanging around in the garage - just like that cartoon.

Life lessons: And coffins.

Life Lessons, II: Another Kinky blurb. Entertainment value in politics? Heck, Texas politics has always been like that.

Over the weekend, a client showed up in black fatigues, I think they're called BDU's, and a black t-shirt, black high-top sneakers. She was just done with work, and she works for a federal agency.

"Yeah, I'm wearing my underwear," she explained.

So that's what the Feds wear under their uniforms. And talk about a way to stop me from talking.

And don't be slowing me down.

Rain, Saturday morning, the gentle prattle of drops on a trailer's roof. Slowed us down some, getting out the door. Not that it mattered. The darling little Virgo at the Pastry Chef fronted us some extra pastries to help us make it through the day.

Memorial: My friend Grace, I'm staying in their trailer for the weekend - which is a another story unto itself - lost her brother a year ago. At the request of the family, perhaps guided by the brother's voice, there was gathering. I'm a friend of the family, so I'm an outsider, but I'm also, to a certain extent, regarded as familia, too. So it was no problem to go to the party.

The rain abated, and the clouds crowned the Franklin Mountains while we gathered at the graveyard. Words were said, candle lit, balloons loosed, a quiet fell on the crowd. Then it was party time.

Per the supernatural request, there was a grand feast laid out at his house. There was brisket, pork ribs, various salads, and then, this amazing queso. Cheese dip. Whatever you want to call it. It was piquant, roasting hot, and yet, not too hot. Just enough fire to thoroughly satisfy. I was helping in the kitchen myself, mostly just helping myself, when I asked who made the queso.

"I did," said one of member of the extended family.

"Kramer: she's married. To my brother. And he's big," the widow reminded me. Sternly.

"What's the secret?" I asked.

"It's just queso and salsa," the cook explained, "and the secret is," then she looked at me, "and if I told you, then it wouldn't be secret."

A little while later, I was in the backyard. There was the patriarch of the family, and I watched, an older hispanic man. He would pull a can of beer from the cooler, then reach into his the pocket of khaki's, pull out a small shaker of salt, tap a small amount into the can's opening, and then sit back and drink his beer.

His younger brother brother came up to me, smiling, "Kramer, right? Hey, you have money?"

"Me? I don't think so, that's why I'm here this weekend for work." I smiled in the cool evening.

"Too bad, you know, if you had money, I'd let you marry my wife." A broad smile played across his face.

It was a good party. I'm still trying to determine, though, what the religious affiliations were. Which ones were Protestant, and what religion corresponded to what dishes. Baptist, weren't they the covered casserole group? Methodist, that's the dessert group, right? I never could make the distinctions. But the queso, and the salsa, that was the best.

Odd road bits
Franklin Mountains. Tail end of the real Rockies.

Organ Mountains, too, that's another name. Supposedly, I'm sure, because they look like organ pies. Bit of a stretch.

Beware of rattlesnakes:

I pulled the truck over, to stop and stretch my legs because I was running a few minutes early. The NM State rest area and tourist welcome center promised free internet access. I never did pick up a wireless signal, but the warning signs tickled my fancy. In the middle of the America Desert. Cactus everywhere. Do we need warning signs about potentially aggressive local residents?

Another weird synchronistic point: as I pulled off the highway, a truck was looming behind me, the brand name? Freightliner. Color? White. (Musical reference.)


Utterly unconnected:

Friday the thirteenth
Moving at a snail's pace.

Road Bug:
I don't think I've worn this much clothing since - that wedding in August, and even then, it was only for an evening. Long pants. Boots. Too much trouble, that's for sure. I must find a warmer climate. Close a beach. Maybe not on a beach - sand just gets into everything.

The real enemy?

Hell Paso:
Not an original title, just a phrase I lifted from another source. And I hardly think of the town that way. But for a relatively small town, at both real and historical crossroads, the place does get an inordinate amount of press. Search for songs with "El Paso" in the title or lyrics.

No road stories
Just Las Cruces (southern NM) via El Paso, TX. See listing for details.

Battersea as my icon.

More humor:
At least, I'm seeing it as humor. It is funny, isn't it?

(Not for the "satire-challenged," though.)

Fishing Lake Austin
Lake Austin, a scenic, idyllic, slightly off-center lake, runs through town. Perfect for a fall afternoon. By the end of the outing, though, it's hard to tell, it is fall, right?

Cherchez les piossons

It's not much of a fish. Only about six inches long, maybe. Caught him on a motor oil chartreuse curly tail worm. Off a beach. He was more playing with the bait, rather than really trying to eat it.

No picture:
But my highly esteemed fishing buddy did pull in a decent five or six pounder. You know, follow my advice, and there's the fish.

Two-Meat Tuesday
Gypsy Kings: Hotel California. That was one morning. Sort of weird day, easiest way to express it. Just strange. But then, in my line of work, if a day isn't strange, then there's cause for concern.

I checked, and I found I was well within the preset limits of the current configuration of the video, so I used a larger footprint for the weekly video file.

Amateur images:

Not notes
"Aromatherapy? Yeah, here, pull my finger."

Schwag is good. Dollars are better.

I think I'll wait this one out.

Is it possible to get Duran Duran, which leads to the band's namesake, Barbarella, then work in a Shakespeare reference?

"Now the hunrgy lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the weary ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone."
Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (V.ii.2-5)

Maybe not so much. But worth a try.

Vote Kinky:
Good piece, and I'll concede the point that Kinky doesn't known much about public policy. But then again, neither do most the current crop of professional politicians. Like the current governor, or the "one tough grandma" (doesn't anyone remember her efforts to grab headline news? Bitch.) Vote Kinky: Nicely talking points. Most damaged? Intriguing quote. Bless those spin doctors.


Unrelated question:
What is exfoliate?


Something to think about for the working weekend approaching.

Not scientific: I was poking around on iTunes, looking at something or other, and filling out a wish list, you know, music I'd buy if I had any money to spend on such luxuries, but I certainly can't justify a dollar a pop at the moment, and I hit some celebrity playlist. Then I flipped through several more. The number of celebrities, musicians even, who listed "When doves cry," it spooked me. But that could be me.

In other news: What kind of tacky cheese ball would have a Velvet Elvis?

How to beat the system: According to the stars. And how to build a casino: More myth but fun points.

Just Austin
Just images, from Austin, on a hot afternoon.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit)


I stopped in for lunch on a hot afternoon. Well past the usual lunch crowd time. Two tired waitresses were working in the afternoon heat.

The Hoffbrau's history is clouded with myth - and it involves deception, corporate theft and the ability to endure. Same restaurant, same location, same family, since 1934.

There was a chain, and I thought about that chain, as I understand it, the chain with the same name has long since expanded and folded, although, at one time, the chain used the exact same recipe for success, and the same recipe for the food.

The Hoffbrau (Austin, West 6th Street) - the original - is a steak house. Steaks are grilled with lemon-butter. About half a potato is sliced and deep-fried, truly steak fries. Salad is a single serving of lettuce, drenched with an oily vinegar solution. Two slices of bread, two pats of butter. Simple. Straightforward. Unquestioning. So when I encountered this in the first of what was to be a chain, I was pleased. It was "just like in Austin."

The theft and corporate deception was to open a chain with the same name, franchise, get rich, then diversify the menu. As I understand it, some decades later, the chain collapsed upon itself. Tried to expand the menu to serve more healthy material, like chicken, and salads that weren't drenched in dressing. I don't know what happened. One day the chain stores were there, the next time I looked, they had all been replaced with another chain of some sort.

The original Hoffbrau, it's certainly still there. I would have to consider it delicate comfort food, not a dietary staple, as it's still just steak, fries, and that salad soaked in dressing. What I didn't recall was the way salad dressing had a little bit of a ping to it, like Rudy's BBQ sauce, just enough of a pepper bite to be interesting. I couldn't tell if it was pepper, onion juice, or garlic, perhaps it was combination of all three. I slowly savored the salad. The ice tea was cold. The steak came in two flavors, that afternoon, and most afternoons are like this: sirloin or T-bone. That's it.

I was pondering these choices, the simplest of solutions. Almost a binary decision. Simple, easy, not a lot of choice.

Imitated, which, I'm sure, at one time was a sore point, so I didn't bother to find out, but then, imitation is flattery, in a weird way.

So while I was in the original Hoffbrau on Austin's West Sixth Street, I was thinking about their way of doing business. Do one thing well. Do it right. Keep it simple. And if the customer doesn't want a slab of beef, cooked in butter? With part of potato, fried? And if that salad is too greasy, or otherwise unappealing? Go some place else.

But what they do, they do very, very well. From the delicate seasonings in the salad dressing, to the fine spray of lemon juice as the steak sizzle on the grill, to the way the potatoes come out with a deep-fried tender goodness. Two choices for lunch that afternoon, T-bone or sirloin.

I watched as a road crew came in for a late lunch, guys who were working out-of-doors. First guy through the door, he just plopped down, "Three T-Bones, one medium, one medium, one medium rare. Tea. Three. They'll be here in a minute, and I'm thirsty."

I sawed my way through a T-bone, I'd asked for a little on the rare side of medium rare. Perfect. The flavor for the beef itself was exquisite.

Looking over the bar, I realized where I'd swiped a sign's slogan from, one that's rolling up in a scope sooner or later.

What I was pondering, this whole message is dedicated to one thought process, and it's a process that doesn't include beef. It's about a plan. A business plan. Do one thing well. Put everything into doing one thing well. One size does not fit all, but fit the action, that thing, to what can be done properly, with good tastes, and, in a word, well.

Instead of trying to be all things to all people, turn out a single menu item, and do a good job with that. One thing, done correctly.

When I compare price and quality, the only place that I can find a decent comparison to the strip of steak in Austin's Hoffbrau? Paris. Not Paris, Texas, but Paris, France. Renowned for inventing the steak and fries dish, and to be sure, they've been at it longer than we've been a colony, country or state, so some credit is due, and it's been my experience that the simplest of parisian dishes, steak and fries, are about equal to what the Hoffbrau does.

So Paris (France) is a fading memory. Hoffbrau, Austin? That's recent. And there's no language barrier, either. Or funny currency conversions. Makes for a more frank dining experience.

Do one thing, and do it well.


And I never thought I'd stoop so low as to show the ass of a 47-year old woman, or that such a tail-end could be so fetching, but there it is, again, in all her glory.

And whoever thought that I'd be placing some rosy red butt from a 47-year old, as pictures on the site?


That's really awful. (NSFW)

"I could be bounded in a nutshell,
And count myself a king of infinite space,
Were it not that I have bad dreams."
Shakespeare's Hamlet (II.ii.234)

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit)



Two-Meat Tuesday

How's that song go? That one lyric?

"I was born a traveling man, that's all I'll ever be. Moving around from town to town is what makes me so free...

"I'm a traveling man, traveling man, traveling man,
Traveling man, that's a-what I am.

"Traveling man that's what I am, no one has a hold on me,
you see me once or maybe twice - all you see of me.

"All you pretty women, if you understand, and don't be a fool and love me, I'm a traveling man."

(Lynryd Skynyrd - Traveling Man)

One of the purposes of a commonplace book is to jot down ideas or just pieces of poetry, or perhaps a song I was listening to, just something to remind me about a point, at some later date.

Business links:
Geek business myths and more myths.

Dance mix
Stars and Cars - the extended danced mix.
"I'll see her damned first; to Pluto's damned lake, to the infernal/deep, with Erebus and tortures vile also. Hold hook and line, say I. Down,/down, dogs! down, fates! Have we not Hiren here?
Pistol, in a tavern in East Cheap, from Shakespeare's King Henry IV, part 2 (Act II, scene iv)
Sidebar: Pluto.
Pluto is a planet, a dwarf planet, an asteroid, a Kupier Belt object, or a double planet, depending on the scientific and astronomical notation at the moment. For the sake of clarifying names and meanings, I tend to regard Pluto as Pluto, define it howsoever one desires, and as a Sagittarius sun sign, I tend believe in what I've felt, and later observed, with Pluto's efficacy. Rather than jump on the debate, I'll just stick with referring to Pluto with its now-outdated terminology of planet.

Astrology is all about language. A single symbol can pack a lot of information. As such, I've worked on developing a couple of monikers for handling recurrent themes. Shorthand for dealing with recognizable phenomena. One of the most prevalent astrological oddities I'm seeing these days is a particular set of charts. It's not limited to just my narrow range, but I've discovered that there's a group, from 1964 to 1967, and the emphasis is on the 1965-6 natal charts that I've looked at. It's about Uranus and Pluto, in a rolling conjunction, in Virgo.
Historically, this occurs every hundred and fifty years or so, and the historians, political scientists, plus the sociologists, not to mention just about every type of social commentator has something to say about the time frame. But what I'm concerned with are the natal charts -- and then the mid-life transits that are occurring, even now.
Perhaps it's a quirk of my moon sign, or it's lot of journeyman astrologer in Central Texas (almost 80% of my precinct voted, and of that almost 80% voted for Kerry in the last presidential election), but what I'm seeing are large number of the Pluto-Uranus conjunction charts these days.
To look at the facts, in strict, structuralist astrology, a conjunction is when two planets align and the orb is generally agreed upon as two degrees or less. For the sake of this part of a generation, I would define the conjunction as starting in late 1964, and going until almost the end of 1967, wherein those two planet-objects are within six degrees of each other, and for a good portion of that time, in exact, or nearly exact, conjunction.
Couple of societal factors are hitting at the same time, too. First off, in 2001 and 2002, Pluto transited through 15 degrees of Sagittarius. That caused a Pluto Square Pluto in the natal/transit charts of a whole group. The way I tend to explain this energy in a chart reading is to call the Pluto Square Pluto as a mid-life turning point -- a kind of an astrologically defined test. Then, I do point out, in the parents' generations, this kind of energy manifested itself at an age that has social significance on two levels, one, it tended to occur after Uranus Oppose Uranus, usually several years after that, and two, it tended to occur when the person had a degree of maturity, like in the late 40s.
I tend to interpret Uranus Oppose Uranus as a wake-up call along spiritual lines. Around age 42, parents begin to go to church, in earnest. Then, closer to 50, whatever faith was adopted and embraced, that was tested. At age 42, the kids were old enough to be out of the house, perhaps testing adulthood. That's another call for faith, to listen to some parents.
But these established cycles are upset. 2001 has been addressed so many times, on so many different levels, I doubt I can encapsulate it in a single tag line. But in 2001, the first of that 65 Mustang group was hitting the Pluto Square Pluto. Before there was any kind of Uranus/Uranian awakening.
Pluto hit 14 Sagittarius at least three times in 2001, the first was right at the beginning of that year. So here's a group that's hitting a mid-life turning point, a test of faith, long before there's been any kind of spiritual awakening.
There's a whole school of thought that could pin an astrological conspiracy on that generation of 65 Mustangs. But their world-view was shattered that year, and by conventional astrological cycles, there was a lack of spiritual direction.


Uranus is a weird planet, much like the sign with which it is associated, Aquarius. When I get to a point in a reading, where I have to address Uranus transits, I tend to fudge the facts a little, for the sake brevity and clarity. I'll point out that Uranus is sideways in the solar system, basically 90 degrees off from every other planet. As such, it's easy to see why the influence of Uranus can be so unsettling. Its transit can have a profound, and world-shifting way of changing one's outlook. As an astrologer, I just try to hit the important points. The astronomy of Uranus is infinitely more complicated, with the actual angle something like 87 degrees, and the poles shift, every 42 years, and we're back to that cycle again. Odd how astronomy and astrology cycles coincide.
So the supposition is that this group, the 65 Mustangs, have experienced a world-changing event, Pluto Square Pluto, in 2001 and 2002. Then, just now, even, this group is getting the Uranus Oppose Uranus transit. It's a backwards group, and it's a weird transit, but then, as whenever I encounter one from this grouping, I just suggest that the person, due to Uranus and Pluto being so close together, are capable of many great achievements.
What I've started doing in many consultations, is to try and do a quick synopsis of the two transits, Pluto Square Pluto as a test of faith, and Uranus Oppose Uranus as an awakening of faith. Then, with the 65 Mustangs, it's a matter of pointing out that their faith has already been tested, only, due to the odd nature of the orbit of Pluto, this very group didn't get a specific set of instructions. Yet.



The instructions of the spiritual message, or whatever it is that is contained in the individual chart will vary, but the overall nature of the transits when weighed against a whole population -- a whole "mini" generation -- the 65 Mustang group, there's a clear pattern that starts to emerge.
There's a gentle questing. Calls to mind an image of a Knight from King Arthur's court, out looking for a holy grail. Relationships are under hard scrutiny, spiritual beliefs are re-examined, and there's the question of what direction is best for career, and more common, career changes. The planets continue a dance, and life keeps evolving, but I'm continually amazed by the both individual and then, collective reactions to the transits.
"Well I ain't often right but I've never been wrong/It seldom turns out the way it does in the song."
Scarlet Begonias (Hunter - Garcia)



Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit)

Copyright 2006 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.

Coffee Shops and Beauty Shops
(And occasional metaphysical expo.)

Besides, it was in a coffee shop the other morning, I was quietly tucked into a corner with a client, discussing important matters. In walks a well-known personality, often noted for erratic mental stability, "You know, Jesus was just a carpenter, and he's like other carpenters, just waiting to come back to finish the job. Any day now...."

So anyway: This article was both funny [and[/b> accurate. Painfully so.

I checked the advertising I had running on the site, and it was generating about a buck, that's one dollar (US $1.00) per month. Weighed against the effort to police and maintain the code? Not really a good deal. So just clipped it all out.

But I did leave the Amazon stuff. Some quarters, the Amazon links generate some real cash - book credit - actually. Some quarters, not so much. But there's a second side to the my version of the Amazon tale, and that's why I found the linked story so amusing. I feel the pain. I've been there. While the original set-up was rather easy for me, understanding the arcane and possibly mystical price structure of retail versus Amazon versus wholesaler is scary.

>Payment made to: KRAMER WETZEL

>Payment date: 28-SEP-2006

>Payment currency: USD

>Payment amount: 2.46

Odd bits Golden Earring, don;'t even guess the connection.

Nice hair. Dude.

And Top of the Pops? Says it all, innit?

No coherent thread. And now for something completely different: I picked a up thread, and it spurred a few moments' considerations.

I used to fly a lot more, and when I did fly, I used to be the obnoxious character making bad jokes. Can't do that anymore. I can't make jokes in line - I'm sure I could - but some of my humor would be ill-suited for the situations.

I sort of imagine it's like that line from Charlie Daniles' Uneasy Rider, "Watch him folks, cuz he's a fairly dangerous man...."

"He may look dumb but that's just a disguise."

The musical counterpoint, call and response, is "I ain't even got a garage, you can call home and ask my wife."

Hard to connect an old cross-over song to the loss of rights in the air. But it's there, and that's why I can't make jokes when I'm headed towards the checkpoint. Much as I would like to.

Dating: All in my book, but then, there's new scientific material here.


Odd bits
Just odd hits that I couldn't stick anywhere. Not a lot of narrative.

With your pocketbook.

That's clear:
Explains mornings.

New Astrology sign:
The Badger.


Two-meat Tuesday


Should be an other two-fish Tuesday. Be n ice to get out of the "just two fish on Tuesday" thing, but I'm not sweating it. Although, after the sun popped up, I was sweating.

First fish, before sunrise:

Not bad. Maybe not a record, but a nice fish, nonetheless. A good way to start what promises to be a long day.

Southwestern Pilgrimage
Old song, from one of the original cosmic cowboys.

"I'm tired of drinking your muddy waters and sleeping in your hollow logs"

"Goodbye you auctioneers and guillotine racketeers.
I'm looking for a holy man out here on the old frontier."

From Southwestern Pilgrimage (Michael Murphey)

Why write?
Inspired, to a certain extent, by this via TFG.

It's very simple, really, I writer to entertain myself. The horoscopes I write, they are an on-going line of exploration in the mechanics of the planets and the depth of the soul. Human behavior never ceases to amuse me. Or amaze and occasionally, offend. Nature of the beast, I suppose.

Writing brings meaning, well, some times. Wrestling words to the page, though, is an exercise.

9/23 ALA: It's that time again, Banned Book Week.

Experiments in commerce: While horoscopes aren't quite the same product as comics, the two are closely linked in traditional media.

So, once again, it looks like I'm still on the ragged edge.

Odd bits

Sad note:

Don Walser passed away, it was confirmed. I haven't seen him live for several years, but he was always an inspiration. Virgo, too.

One of the greats. Plus he always seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of classic Country, Western and Western Swing material. Face on Mars: Yet Another Conspiracy Theory - laid to rest. More toons:
Youtube link. Perch:
Guarding the waterways.

Vending phones: Cell (digital) phones, via a vending machine.

Oldest youngester:
3.3 million years old.

6 million dollar answer: "We have the technology."

Perfect cover: Ultimate business accessory, especially for those of us who only appear from the waist up? (paid subscribers only)

Road notes
Just watching the folks, that's all - me stuck with al the salary-men. A lone spot of color in a sea of suits.

"Did you ever see Dallas from a DC 9 at night?"
(Joe Ely and/or Flatlanders &c.)

Crickets at the airport. Half a doughnut and almost empty coffee urn at the 'departure lounge,' and why someone leaves half a doughnut behind?

How does that go?

Random misfires: I wonder if black T-shirts and gray power suits are the new look. And wasn't the yellow tie, like, last year?

"Your father is driving himself to the hospital for his cataract surgery."

But no one sees a problem with this?

"I'm getting my ears tested - I can't always hear casual conversations."

I'm wondering if this the result of all those years of marriage, and learning to tune out certain (background) noises.

"See, when you get older, you need more water. And when you swim, you lose water." (Ma Wetzel)

"Mom? You pee in the pool?"

"And remember," Ma Wetzel commanded, "don't eat your spinach."

No wonder, I'm a mess. "eat your spinach," "don't eat your spinach," all the mixed messages? Mixed greens. No, no spinach. But I thought it was good for us.

And all those years, they told us not to pee in the pool. Latino magazine - in English? And Cosmo in Spanish?

How about a magazine called Parenting, as if parenting was a hobby?

Then it was the computer store since "Mother Wetzel" needed a new printer. Simple task. Sort of. The guy who helped us was - I am not making this up - Maurice. Musical allusion. Dallas musical allusion.

Always a trip to the far side of reality, as far as I'm concerned. At the security check point, as I was slipping back into my sandals and dropping the laptop back into its bag, the three (female) security agents were talking about a guy, past his prime, who kept hitting on the girls. "Player, thinks a he's a player," and one has to imagine the combination drawl and urban/Texas twang, all convoluted into one. "Player."

"It's Dallas Love (Field), just trying to show the love," one agent said. The other two smirked.

And for the conspiracy buff? Floating along in Deep space? Hidden meaning? Maybe so. Maybe no.

Two-meat Tuesday


The title really should read, "One Fish Tuesday." Way it goes, but it was such a glorious day....

The weather just changed. First night it was cooler - like - like fall was about to happen. Don't be fooled, it's still hot. But there was a nice morning running around in a boat, looking for fish.

Last shot of the day, last chance, a certain lure across the grass, and there it was, a little fish. A pretty small fish, too, not, like a trophy or anything, but a good end to a decent day on the lake. One fish. Saw several, but when we can see the fish? Sometimes, they see us, too.

Until the sun came up, though, it was cold. As an after thought, I'd pulled on a long-sleeved shirt, and I only wished I'd worn a warmer shirt. By ten in the morning, though, it was warming up. Almost hot.

Enjoyed it, though. Wednesday morning promises to be more of the same. The single part of the trip I'm looking forward to, as I've got a quick up and back for family business in Dallas, is going to the airport barefoot. More secure that way.

Odd picks: It's either the old news about (Saint) Willie's bust or something about a bloodless coup - one night in Bangcock.

Matter of time
It's always a matter of time, right?

It's always a matter of time. Timing. Something like that.

I tend to blame this guy - he started it. Viral attempt: But I liked it.

Too much notes
Two instances of ACL traffic. One was amusing. One was not.

I was on the trail, headed towards the post office. A couple was wandering long, the poor woman was at least wearing sensible footwear (all about the shoes, huh), and the guy was in shorts and they both had water bottles and hats. Good move.

The guy kept pulling a map out of his pocket, then looking at it, then he reversed his direction. Not once, but twice. Joggers went by. There was a steady stream of festival goers, obvious by the blankets and portable chairs, water bottles and so forth. I was heading the other direction. Except this couple, they wound up dogging my steps for a little way, then he stopped, consulted the map again, and turned around.

After passing me twice, I pointed them in the right direction. I was mentally making up a funny comment about how guys won't stop and ask directions. I hope they made it. Poor girl, she was "glowing" heavily.

Crossing the street to the post office, there was four-door sedan in one lane, behind the line. Light changed red. He saw an opening in the traffic ahead, and he went for it. Nearly took out a couple of pedestrians, myself included. I flipped him off. Violated several traffic laws. Not to mention common sense, but the downtown was snarled worse than fishing line on a bad reel, and that was barely after noon.

There was a third vehicular note, a certain truck with garish political slogans on it. The message is that "war is bad," and we shouldn't fight a war for oil. This might not be the driver's first war protest, either, but that's a guess, not absolute fact. And, the sight of that kind of decoration isn't out-of-the-ordinary in Austin. What caught my eye, I was pacing the truck in traffic at one end of downtown. I had time to fetch the mail, stopped for a cup of coffee (iced), chatted up a Capricorn lass, and meandered homeward.

I passed the same truck, same driver, now facing the other direction, still stuck in traffic.

Feets don't fail me now. I was ahead.

Expected: 50,000 people. Do the math, average 1.7 people per car, maybe boost that to a full two for this event, folks riding together. 25,000 cars. Glad I left.

Weekend notes
ACL Fest!
Austin City Limits Festival is headed to town. Which means I'm headed anywhere but here. Although it's a complete replay, the SXSW Guidelines are valid for all the out-of-town visitors. Just change "spring" to "fall," and you're good to go.

My source and my facts could be completely skewed, but the only shared-item with the Not For Profit "Austin City Limits" show, on PBS via KLRU? Name. And a donation.

Just goes to show, everyone does have a price.

Virgo: Ann Richards, former governor, passed away. Been lamented elsewhere. But it brought to mind my precious few stories.

I think I first saw her when she was introducing an Austin movie by little-known film-maker, Robert Rodriguez, the movie was called "Dazed and Confused." She likened film-making to politics, all about illusion. Queen of the one-liners, for sure.

Saw her again, in Austin, at a Bookstop, when that chain was a discount book seller. I would've wandered up to say hello, but she was governor at the time, and there these two guys with telltale wires hanging from earpieces, and I'm sure I looked like a threat.

Saw her again, at the Avenue Cafe, but of course, I was more concerned with breakfast tacos, and she was debating some point with - a guess here - a political person. But always did admire her.

Xena: Should've been a planet.

Big changes
That's all I can suggest.

"Suit the action to the word, the word to the action."
Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (Act III, scene ii)

That quote is from Hamlet's little talk to the players, about how to act out a play. Direction, so to speak. And for many scholars, and actors, the speech is about how Shakespeare wanted his actors to perform. But I like the more pointed comment, about words and actions.

Stereotypes: At least I don't have, well, one, and KISS isn't really heavy metal, but some of the other items, yeah, well, there is that.

More stereotypes: This one I've heard too many times.

Annoying: I tend to leave my phone unplugged unless I know I've got a call. I had to make a quick call, and few minutes later, it rang, so I answered. Some poor guy in a Phoenix call center.

Earlier in the day, I'd had a long talk with my own, wee Scorpio mum, and we laughed about certain issues, i.e., my obvious lack of maturity (by her standards).

So the guy says his name, and that he's just taking a survey, and it will only take two minutes. Then he asks, "Are you over 18?"

I reply, "Depends on who you ask."

"But you are over 18, right?"

"Some days."

"If you could just say yes or no..."

It's the middle of my dinner hour. So, I wasn't eating dinner, more like I was having a nice, calming cup of tea. Lapsang Souchong, to be precise. Besides, was it really a survey? Or was it clever marketing? I don't care. I feel sorry for people who work in call centers, but I don't like to be bothered. No honor: Yeah, no honor among punchlines, either.

500 songs, round three
Plus a quick note.

1. Pick under thumb and hold firmly

2. Add second chopstick hold it as you hold a pencil

3. Hold the first chopstick in original position move the second one up and down now you can pick up anything

Moon shots:

141. "Flatland Boogie" (Charlie Robinson)

142. "Out of Control" (Chemical Brothers)

143. "Copperhead Road" (Steve Earle)

144. "Flatland Boggie" (Wayne Hancock)

145. "Cherry Twist" (Crystal Method)

146. "The South's Going to Do It Again" (CDB)

147. "Pony Boy" (Allman Brothers)

148. "Cocaine Blues" (Johnny Cash)

149. "Push the Button" (Chemical Brothers)

150. "Sex" (Berlin)

151. "Rockit" (Herbie Hancock)

152. "I've been everywhere (in Texas)" (Brian Burns)

153. "White Wedding (Billy Idol)

154. "Music: Response" (Chemical Brothers)

155. "Godzilla" (Blue Oyster Cult)

156. "Got Clint" (Chemical Brothers)

157. "High Roller" (Crystal Method)

158. "Here We Go" (Pat Green)

And this might be the only song I could really annotate, in this list. Pat Green, one-hit wonder, outside of Texas. Pat Green, old school Texas Music Hero. And the lyric that always gets me? "Lone Star (Beer) on my cereal is keeping me alive."

Or something like that.

New Apple Stuff: I'll swear that keyboards need one.

Last of the trip pics
Just two more, couldn't resist. The whole day out, we never landed a Redfish. Saw plenty, just never had any take bait.
Then, while fishing off the dock at the hotel, my buddy warns me that if I caught a Redfish, I was going in the water. Head-first. And he doesn't make idle threats.

Sunday morning, coming down, I was up at 4 or 5, and the high tide was just peeking against the pier. I would land a dead shrimp against the wall, and about every second or third shrimp would result in a tiny Redfish.

After I screwed up my courage, I showed that one picture.

"Dude, look: it's smaller than the brick."

I was safe.

More coastal pic
Mom's Bait Shop - Rockport, TX:

Fishing pictures
More or less.

500 songs, part two
This was a lot harder, but you know, once I got started, I couldn't stop myself.

70. Mescalero (ZZ Top) Argue amongst your selves, the Top's been putting it out there for a long, long time. From back rooms to arena's, and back again. Can't mess with the ZZ Tops.

71. Concrete and Steel (ZZ Top) Recycler was recycled, but this one was like the old days. Don't like it? Tough.

72. Tush (ZZ Top)

73. Jesus Just Left Chicago (ZZ Top)

74. Just Got Paid (ZZ Top) and no, I won't get tired of typing "ZZ Top." I could go all night, just on this.

75. La Grange (ZZ Top) need to fish there again, I hope.

76. Fearless Boogie (ZZ Top)

77. Sinpusher (ZZ Top)

78. Just got Paid Today (ZZ Top)

79. Heard it on the X (ZZ Top) This is the last Top song, but, to me, it's most important. I put it back to back with Mexican Radio, as the two are related, and then, it's particularly evocative of a fall afternoon, in rent car, headed coastal. There was warm wind on my shoulder....

80. Hear those engines wind (Brendon Jenkins) happy, inadvertent discovery, thanks to Gulf Coast rebel radio. Rod dog music.

81. Rapture (Blondie)

82. The Everclear Song (Roger Creager)

83. Green Haze (Elvis Hitler) The album's called Disgraceland, the name's real, and the song is Green Acres to Purple Haze.

84. Jessica (Allman Brothers) In all its, what, 8-minute glory?

85. We're Through Being cool (Devo)

86. "The Politics of Dancing" (Re-Flex) It was a difficult song to find, B-side from an 80's "new wave" set. Haunted me for years, quite literally. The video, and whatever unbidden message contained in that short? Finally located it, more than 20 years, after the fact.

87. 5 Pound Bass (REK) #2 Live Dinner by Robert Earl Keen is a singular album, from location to ambiance to song-writing. Musical work. Story-telling. Truly a classic. My intriduction was the simple, "Dude, you've heard the song about the 5 pound bass, right?"

88. Measure for Measure (Toni Price) Pretty much a local girl, now. I recall seeing her, at one time, and there was a real reason I was listening to the blues. Song covers it all.

89. Pipeline (Dick Dale with Stevie Ray Vaughn)

90. Raspberry Beret (The Derailers) They're hard-working band, local, sort of "Austin does Bakersfield" sound. Seen them many times.

91. Java Jive (Manhattan Transfer) It was the first of their songs that caught my attention.

92. Birdland (Manhattan Transfer)

93. Ooh Las Vegas (Gram Parsons) I know I listened to this stuff, from long ago, but it recycled into my listings a few years ago. The history is fascinating, and it's another part of the root system in the growth of true "American" music.

94. Sweet Home Chicago (Foghat) The "Fool for the City" Album, I think that was the one, the guy fishing in a manhole? There's several cuts, but an old blues number?

95. My Guitar wants to Kill Your Mother (Frank Zappa) Such an odd duck. Musically gifted. Always using humor, too. I'm sure this is a B-side kind of song, but it's good because it's not the more often heard material.

96. Okie from Muskogee (Merle Haggard) and if you don't get it? I recall, taking a picture of a buddy, outside Muskogee, at the city's sign. It was a long-lost weekend trip on scooters. Back when "scooters" were large and noisy.

97. Hit me with your best shot (Pat Benetar)

98. We Will Rock You (Queen) Where were you when you heard this for the first time? Working on a motorcycle, up on a lift.

99. Stranglehold (Ted Nugent) I listened to all 11 minutes of this live version, and sure, there are other cuts that might show up, but catch just one?

100. Crossfire (SRV) Around Austin? SRV is akin to a patron saint. Or something. We have a statue, in the park. I pass it most near daily, headed downtown. I can't help but think about the Rome Inn. What was it the Dead Milkmen said?

101. The Great Hank (REK) He's been criticized for lacking serious vocal talent, and as a self-deprecating Capricorn, he's acknowledged that shortcoming. Foibles notwithstanding, REK just gets better all the time. Only seen him do this song once, but it was worth it.

102. It's My Life (Talk Talk) this is one of the songs wherein the way I remember the video has a bigger part of the tune's impact. Along with:

103. Talk Talk (Talk Talk) Eponymous song. Whatever.

104. Beer, Bait & Ammo (Kevin Fowler) The first time I saw that CD in the store, all I could do was laugh. And pass on it. Took a while before I got around to a Kevin Fowler appreciation. He's nothing more than a rowdy, beer-drinking old redneck punk who is a good showman. Maybe not great, but it's pure Texas.

105. Burning Down the House (Talking Heads) which could easily be a whole subsection, but this one song? A fine spring morning in Austin. Afternoon. TV set where I was living, the TV was on. Something was burning in Waco. A compound. "Burning down the House" was on the radio, at the moment.

106. Smells like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)

107. Words (Missing Persons) don't know if it's still there, but at one bookstore, South Austin, there's a collection of album covers up over the wainscoting in the men's room. Including this one, with its slash of pink. Really, what are words for, when no one listens?

108. Phat Planet (Leftfield) Another hat tip to a Gemini.

109. Bad Motor Scooter (Montrose) I should watch more TV so I can see the "whatever happened to ..." series.

110. The bluegrass widow (REK) The live album was rough around the edges, hence its endearing quality. Still a favorite cut.

111. Blue Monday (New Order) Bonus points: figure out that connection.

112. Dallas (Joe Ely) While this is a staple of the Flatlanders, which include Joe Ely, seeing him, hearing him, alone is worth the trip. From Lubbock. Lives in Austin. His whole canon is quite good.

113. This city has no heart (Faster Pussycat) What's life without a little hair metal? It's - truth be told - a solid album. Maybe not the best, but several cuts are good. And this B-side is stuck in my mind, right behind the Flatlanders singing about Dallas.

114. Me and Billy the Kid (Joe Ely) While it's known as a Pat Green song, it was written by Joe Ely. Lots of cross fertilization in these parts. The story behind the song, summarized with on-stage banter is equally impressive.

Star 69 (Fatboy Slim) and for this? I can easily blame Bubba. Live, Austin Music Hall. Sometime in the last few years.

116. Right here, right now (Fatboy Slim) I used this song, still do, a lot, as background noise when I'm working on scopes. Right here, right now, no time like the present, than I'll go off on some astrology tangent. But it's a definite influence.

117. One thing leads to another (The Fixx) 118. U.S. Blues (Grateful Dead) Live from the Mars Hotel is one of the underrated albums in the last half century. Two tunes have haunted me, in particular, "U.S. Blues," and

119. The Pride of Cucamonga (Grateful Dead) It's a weird road song for me.

120. Scarlet Begonias (Jimmy Buffett) Touring bands, the Dead blazed the trail, then there's Buffett, the same, only different. Which was why I liked his version of "Scarlet Begonias" so much. Lovingly covered.

121. Welcome to the Jungle (G'n'R) rock on. You can't deny you like it.

122. Slash dot (Fatboy Slim) odd, how certain website picked up the song. Coincidence?

123. Sweet Child of Mine (G'n'R) Yeah, so what?

124. Glendale Train (New Riders of the Purple Sage) NRPS hold a special little spot in my aural histories. Saw them live, whilom.

125. 21 Days (Cory Morrow) I heard this, Texas radio, hunted down the album, and found more music that matters. Besides this song is all about life on the road. Way it really is. Except I don't have a girl in Selma.

126. Renegade (Styx) 127. Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy) See, when I lived in AZ, going to thew university, I had this cold water walk-up flat, and every Tuesday night, the doors would be open to this one rock and roll place, and I cold hear the band covering this very song. Every Tuesday, for several years, around 1 to 1:30 AM. Like clockwork.

128. Crazy Frog (Axel F) ah, crap, how did that get in here?

129. This must be the place (Talking Heads) subtitle: naive melody. The lyrical response when I landed where I live.

130. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bib Dylan) 131. Take this job and shove it (David Allan Coe) the guy who penned the ultimate country song, too.

132. Sleeper Coach Driver (Rev. Horton heat) 133. Detroit Rock City (KISS) 134. China Grove (The Doobie Brothers) "...down around San Antone..."

135. Toccata (ELP) More prog rock, and here's one thast the radio will never, ever play. However, it was ground breaking in its fusion of rock and "classical" which is now all classic rock. The more things change? The more they remain the same.

136. "Adventures in Success" (Will Powers) I'm not sure it's been re-issued. But the video is up on iTunes.

137. Walk This Way (Run-DMC)

138. Alice's Restaurant (Arlo Gutherie) some radio station used to play it every Thanksgiving, the long version. Stuck. A must have.

139. Boom Boom ((Pat Travers Band) 140. Sunday Morning Coming Down (Johnny Cash)

500 songs

(should be 500 songs, part uno)
Spurred by a post with the same title, I was wondering about writing about 500 songs, and if I could really do five hundred. That's a lot. One of my iPods has something like 4 days of music collected on it, so maybe that wouldn't be too much of a challenge. But still. With annotations?

1. God's Own Drunk (Jimmy Buffet) and if you don't get it? Then you don't.

2. "On the Muscle of my arm, there's a red and blue tattoo, says, 'Ft. Worth I love you'." (Michael Murphy) Before he was Michael Martin Murphy and moved to Sante Fe, and receded into being just a singing cowboy, he was all about the alleys of Austin. Back in the day, one of the original cosmic cowboys.

3. Bad Company (Bad Company) Addendum to a summer of love?

4. Southwestern Pilgrimage (Michael Murphy) is wheel stopped in Snata Fe. Or Taos. Not a bad, gig, either way.

5. Uneasy Rider (CDB) If you don't understand the acronym, CDB, then the allusion is lost on you, and, for that matter, you're a poorer person, less of human, if you don't get it. CDB=Charlie Daniels Band. While there's a canon of work associated with CDB, and in recent years, he's turned to Jesus, hey, that's fine. But "Uneasy Rider" was an anthem, at one time. Still is, if you ever listen to a mix-CD from me. Wasn't so very long ago, we were walking into a diner in a little town, and my buddy was softly singing, "He may look dumb, but that's just a disguise..."

6. Natchez Trace (Michael Murphy) 7. Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother (Jerry jeff Walker) I can skip Mr. Bojangles, and enjoy the bulk of his work, especially the early work. Redneck Mother is one I'd have to pick. Sorry anthem, but there is, in all its glory.

8. Green Grass and High Tides (The Outlaws) guitar solos that used to mean something.

9. Free Bird (Skynyrd) As if this needed any kind of an explanation, c'mon, it's still a guilty pleasure.

. Race with the Devil on a Spanish Highway (Al Dimeola) Speed jazz.

11. Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple) youthful indiscretion, and guilty pleasure, to this day.

12. Stay (Jackson Brown). While "Running on Empty," was the big one, "Stay" later become an internal lyric, once I hit the road. For real.

13. Space Trucking (Deep Purple) that whole album, and it was an album - vinyl first - was a masterpiece. Several memorable cuts, many memories in fog some place, too. Should be a "must" on any modern music list.

14. Busy Child (The Crystal Method) - this one deserves an annotation. I was in Seattle, visiting for opera, and I hopped in a car with an Aquarius friend. "Vegas" was in the CD player. I asked, hooked on an aural kick. Took a while, but I found the CD, and that led me into the world of - whatever it's called - brand of music.

15. Two Rolling Stoned (Robin Trower) and

16. Bridge of Sighs (Robin Trower), which I guess, is more a period piece.

17. Rocky Mountain Way (Joe Walsh) Hey, saw him do it on the Europe Eagles tour. Got the T-shirt.

18. Radar Love (Golden Earring) 19. A boy named Sue (Johnny Cash) 20. Desperado (Jerry Jeff) 21. Hotel California (The Eagles) - Look, it meant something, at one time. Get over it. A certain lyric rang true.

22. The Boys of Summer (The Atari's) Back to back with the Eagles, this one has more staying power and it's a stronger version. It's a cover wherein the cover builds on the strength of the pop original and the cover doubles the ironic content.

23. Mexican Radio (Wall of VooDoo) South Texas.

24. Low Rider (War) 25. Northeast Texas Women (Willis Alan Ramsey) Mr. Muskrat Love? This is a better song, thank the odd gods.

26. Close to the Edge (Yes) and at 18 minutes, won't be seeing a lot of airplay. Still classic, still evocative. Prog rock?

27. Sunday Bloody Sunday (U2) 28. "White Freightliner Blues" (Townes Van Zandt) First heard a couple of buddies cover this song, then I eventually chased down a recording. Great stuff. Spurred a whole photo essay that never went anywhere.

29. Big Ten Inch (Aerosmith)

30. Back in the Saddle (Aerosmtih)

31. Sweet Emotion (Aerosmtih) As if Aerosmith, bless their aging souls, needs any excuse.

32. El Paso (The Gourds)

33. "Gin and Juice" (The Gourds) I went to the first Austin City Limits musical deal, just to see this song, by this band. Doubt I'll [b>ever[/b> participate in ACL Fest. Nope, never again. But that song was worth it. The whole set was amazing.

34. Rank and File (Rank and File) The earlier Alejandro Escovedo, the formative cow-punk. Alt-country while most "alt-country" fans were still swimming around in their daddies' testicles.

35. Back in the USSR (Beatles) The White Album, as whole, is seminal piece of music. But that one song, got to be one of the best.

36. California Uber Alles (Dead Kennedys)

37. Dude don't call me dude (Scatterbrain)

38. In a Big Country (Big Country)

39. Bitchin' Camero (Dead Milkmen)

40. Punk Rock Girl (Dead Milkmen)

41. Instant club Hit (Dead Milkmen) I'd hate to run three songs together, but the collection shows the band's versatility. "Instant Club Hit" was a special, an exact parody of everything we all hated, "Choke in this, you Danceteria type!"

42. Spill the Wine(War) The song I got a nickname from, as a mere youth, I was dubbed a long-haired leaping gnome. No shit. Song's been covered a couple of times, makes me wonder when it pops up in pop culture.

43. "Room to Move" (John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers) I just remember the song, can't seem to find it, something, there's a memory there. Must've been a fried brain cell. Might have the name wrong, I think it was harmonica.

44. London Homesick Blues (Jerry jeff Walker) the song is really a Gary P. Nunn song, and I saw Gary do it at the Broken Spoke here. Made a circle complete, author, artist, performer. Usually means a tube stop at Marble Arch for a picture, too. Not many people get the allusion. There will be an Art of Noise reference, later, hits the same spot.

45. Castanets (Alejandro Escovedo) lots of local radio play, when I still listened to radio, still has a good hook.

46. Long Train Running (Bananarama) cover of a Doobie's song, and this is a recent discovery - for me - but it's timeless because it evokes the Doobie Brothers.

47. Change (Tears for Fears) going to be a four-way on Tears since they had several that impacted my memory.

48. Shout (Tears for Fears)

49. Pale Shelter (Tears for Fears)

50. Everybody wants to rule the world (Tears for Fears) done. I hope.

51. Bonecrusher (Soul Hat) Local sound. Still a good song. Used to get airplay, every Friday at 5 PM.

52. Tainted Love (Soft Cell) and wait, there's more, the covers.

53. Copperhead Road (Steve Earle)

54. Ridin' the Storm Out (REO Speedwagon)

55. Sea Sick (Larry Joe Taylor) which leads to a three-way set. Very few set lists here, but these three go together, with a hat tip to Texas Radio in Corpus Christi (TX). Heard three in a row and hunted down the albums. CD format, really.

56. "Once you clear the jetty" (Larry Joe Taylor)

57. Gulf Coast Romance (Luke Olson)

58. On the Run (Pink Floyd) Yes, which one is Pink? Dark Side of the Moon is so classic, yet, I'm wondering if this is an under-appreciated cut. The effect of "The Floyd" on modern music? Can't be underestimated.

59. Stuck in the Middle (Keith Urban) Hear that sucking noise? My street cred with alt-country just whooshed down the the drain for even mentioning this rock singer. Cowboy boots don't make a hick, but there was something adventuresome, to me, to find this cut on a newer release. Used to say that took balls, back when we had the balls to say that something took balls. Which have been all but cut off by Political Correctness. But this is a list of songs, not diatribes about the taxonomy of music. Or how "country music" sold its soul to the devil that went down to Georgia.

60. One of these days (Pink Floyd) and that's just to offset the urbane entry above. Meddle is a fine album, all the way through. As is the next song....

61. Inerstellar Overdrive (Pink Floyd) Relics is the album. Weird shit. I'd mention the album "Animals," too, but there's a hitch, no song, but the cover art is a buried memory, resurfaced as late as last June.

62. Smack my bitch up (The Prodigy) Used in a movie. As prelude to a fight scene. Between a male and female. Opening bars made me laugh. Always liked the song, anyway.

53. Uncool (The Derailers) Last album, as I knew them. Can't say, I don't keep up with modern times. The whole Derailer catalog is damn fine. But this one cut was rich, and I'll do my own thing and be uncool.

64. Where Eagles Dare (The Misfits) 65. Wildwood Weeds (New Lost City Ramblers) Song's forty years old? Wow.

66. Big Balls in Cowtown (Bob Wills) and Bob Wills should've showed up earlier in the listing, as his music was infused in my early childhood, not by my parents, but by my choice. I liked it. Still do. Fiddle reel alone, just makes me smile. And wasn't it Bob Wills who introduced the pedal steel to country music, and invented Western Swing? "Big Balls in Cowtown," classic example.

67. Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats) Rock-a-billy revival. Rock on.

68. The Joker (Fatboy Slim) I'm rather fond of the whole album, as it's got pop licks and few underground touches, but to pick the first song I liked to hear again and again? "The Joker." I should give points for anyone who can find the connection.

69. Repo Man (Iggy Pop) The movie's theme song. The perfect post-punk adolescent fantasy. The opening bars always bring a smile, brief dreams of a happy time.

Hopeful weather alt="Click for Corpus Christi, Texas Forecast" height=100 width=150>

Misc images:

Thursday The trail goes cold Started at Ruined Music which lead to this, which, in turn, led to this, which is factually wrong because, here, in America, shopping should be an absurd adventure, a dark journey into the underbelly.

Tide times: 2006-09-09 2:14 PM CDT 0.29 feet Low Tide

2006-09-09 7:39 PM CDT Sunset (Virgo)

2006-09-09 9:01 PM CDT Moonrise (Aries)

2006-09-10 5:41 AM CDT 0.46 feet High Tide

2006-09-10 7:10 AM CDT Sunrise (Virgo)

2006-09-10 10:18 AM CDT Moonset (Aries)

Two-meat Tuesday

"To business that we love we rise betime,/And go 't with delight."

Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (IV.iv.31-2)

A quick, discursive note about diction:

Prompted by a TFG post (and link), I was thinking about decades of interaction with foreigners. I could, at one time, fake a British accent well enough, when the time required it, good enough to fool the guys in the pub. Until. Until I used the informal of second person plural of a certain pronoun. Gave me away every time. And to me, it's formal, not informal. Just the way it is with my diction.

I have, at this time, a Central Texas drawl, or so it would seem. That can be tempered by time and and location, but the roots are there. Early education and language studies (French on more than one occasion) plus time in foreign lands changed my accent, but even back in the day, I tended to drawl a little.

I remember a cocktail party, and the guy talking was trying to be ever so "European," when, in fact, he was just another guy born in Dallas. I suspect, over time, accents change.

Maybe it's something in the water. The iTune contest? It's all about who's going to take down industry leader, iTunes.

Then again, with online commerce - I've been here since - technically - 1994 - the simple model might be the best. Not too many choices. Choices, yes.

It's all about price points, and what I keep seeing is that I'm rather inexpensive.

Watch the weather.

Got a quick post-Labor Day weekend trip planned for the coast, full of hope that the tourists didn't catch all the fish just yet. Hopefully, there's some left for me. Leave Thursday, back on Monday. Should be good.

Just reminded me of someone shopping.

I've seen Lyle Lovett perform a number of times, from the formal Bass Concert Hall in Ft. Worth to the outdoor venue, the Backyard, in Austin. Invariably enjoyable, the San Antonio show particularly good, Saturday night.

There was a no host,other the performer himself. He came out on the darkened stage, for the first song, accompanied by a single cellist, and gradual, over the course of three songs, the bulk of his stage entourage joined him. 14 or 18 musicians, sort of depends, including a horn section.

In the past few years, Lyle's music has softened just a touch, and it's not all that sad stuff, and no where does this become more apparent than in the stage show.

The exceedingly dry humor does come through. "I like the Saturday night crowds, you're usually with some one you want to be with, unlike the Friday night crowds.

"And those couples, the guys, they are motivated by that most primal and purest of all emotions. (Dramatic pause.) Fear."

Looking at the crowd, I started to realize what place Lyle Lovett occupies in musical taxonomy. There was folk, bluegrass, country & western, big band, western swing, but first and foremost, Lyle Lovett is a crooner. A Texas crooner, tied to the land for over a hundred years, a Scorpio, with typical tales, but basically, a crooner.

In front of me, six seats, looked a brother and sister, in their 20's, grandparents, in their 60's or 70's, and parents, someplace in between. Three generations, at the same show.

I>m sure different points appeal to different people.

Perhaps it's jingoistic of me, but personally, I wished Lyle would drop his "You're not from Texas but Texas wants you anyway" song. Leaves a bad impression with visitors. Please come and visit. But when the money runs out?

Some plants don't understand

Witness this hibiscusConcise definitions: This inter-web thing is handy for shark jumping.


Signs and

Close up.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


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Off to the show

Lyle Lovett, in downtown SA:

Favorite Lyle Lovett CDs?
I'm still hung up on one, and I don't think he'll do much, if anything from it, but Step Inside This House is still a "desert island" CD - well, it is for those of us who care about Lyle & his large band. Road to Ensenada, as well as the latest, My Baby Don't Tolerate are still earmarked. I'd shuffle over and list all his CDs that I've got, but that gets tedious. It's all good.

Well, it's all good if you like a little folk, a little country, a little gospel, and all of it from Texas. Amazing singer/songwriter.

His Greatest Hits is a very good introduction.



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New beginnings
New month. New themes.

Them bones:
Skull in the mud. Cool archeology stuff.

Da Vinci Redux: The trail heats up?

That's a fine pickle:
Pickle lightbulb? I like the instructions, in bold. "Plug in comes last."

Musical note: Yes, it's Beethoven's 9th.

More Cowbell?
Video again.


Fish off:
Not an auspicious start to the month, missed my Ten AM fish and missed my Two PM fish. I could see them, but then, they could see me, too, and they certainly weren't interested in fame or food.

Odd ends
A Faster hybrid?
I think that's the question

Super Grouper?
And why must they always call it Bubba?

How many dollars per mile? Cute.


Book notes:
The Hard Way by Lee Child. Huh. Just another page-turning thriller, but as I was setting up the link, I read one review, "if you're a reader, you'll love it, but if you're writer, your own work will pale in comparison." Or something like that. It is a book that kept me later than I wanted to be kept up. And I didn't think about it at first, but the prose is transparent. Quite good. Ripping yarn, with a good twist, plenty of false clues. And the author's website.

Scum Frog: ScumFrog - not to be confused with the Scum Frog.

Two-fish Tuesday
Checked the weather, 40% chance of rain, prediction was that scattered showers would rumble through in the morning. As my civic duty, I just figured it was good to help that chance of rain increase tenfold by sitting on boat in the middle of Lake Austin. Urban fishing, in and amongst some of the finest real estate anywhere. And good fishing, too. It's really all about the fishing, isn't it?

The general consensus is that Lake Austin, while full of fine fish, is problematic, especially on a weekend, as all matter of leisure craft infect the pristine water's surface. Water fleas, skiers, wake boards, allegedly drunken and disorderly behavior. As a safety tip, remember: alcohol and water don't mix.

The morning did not start well. Stopped at the Whataburger, corner of S. First and Barton Spring to get a breakfast taco, because, at 5.36 AM, that's all that appeared open. Sign outside says, "Open 24 Hours!" Doors were locked. Guy inside motioned us to the drive-thru window. Lady inside said we needed to be in a car. Back in the truck, tow the boat and its trailer through the drive-thru, pick up coffee and breakfast things, then motor off into the darkness. Drove right past a McDonalds that appeared open. If we ever do this again....

Get the boat in the water, still quite dark out, heavy cloud cover, and an occasional flash of lightening, beyond the western horizon. Went no more than 50 meters and there was a fish on. See? I'm good luck to have around. Watched as a boat was towing a skier, in the dark, and the boat didn't have proper lighting.

Motored part of the way up the lake, tucked into a cove, let the rain pass overhead, almost got thrown into the water by an over-hanging branch, and there, more fish for my buddy. Still no luck for me, but it's not that I wasn't trying. That also was the beginning of the rain suit dance. If I wear it, it stops raining, if I don't wear it, it rains. We need rain. I'm taking one for the team. Until I got wet, then, in and out. We finally parked in an empty boat slip while the rain dripped down. Not much rain, but anything is welcome.

Rain Suit Story: see the Scorpio scope (for Dec. 2004).

Out on the lake again, I pointed us to spot, landed that special lure in the right place, and I had my first one. Not very big. But he did put up a good fight and was kind enough to pose for a picture.

We took off upstream again, and my buddy suggested a certain place, "I think this is Sandra Bullock's new boat dock." She was in a movie, right? Dated some local musician? Something like that. However, I did get a nice fighter there. Not really as big as I thought it was, but reeling it in? Felt much bigger. Nice fight. Over my shoulder, in the picture? Supposedly, that new dock. Don't ask me, not in my world.

Does that qualify as a brush with fame? Probably not.

Cockpit of the boat, 40 knots

Hula Hut

From there, it was a blast down the lake which resulted in a cockpit picture. Or poop deck picture. And then we fished on into the Hula Hut, both of us grabbing one more fish on the way in. Between the camera, the fish, and rod & reel, I let that one go before he made the picture.

Couple of ideas, not that I'm mentioning this for anyone else, but it sure would be nice if Mozart's (coffee shop on the lake) added easier boat access. Better yet, how about "boat thru" window for coffee to go?

There's also something amiss here, fished all morning, kept throwing them back. Then contemplated fish tacos for lunch.

What was supremely nice about the whole morning, between the rain and overcast cloud cover, no measurable boat traffic. Saw a couple of guys fishing, on our way out, but then, not a lot of traffic. No wake, no waves, just drizzle. And a few fish.

Waiting to pull the boat out, I took a few last casts from the dock. One landed on top of a boat house. Another landed in a tree. I think it was time to say enough is enough. Can't blame me for trying, though.

Election Day
"Hey Mister Policeman, please don't take my stuff.
It cost me too much money, and it probably ain't enough
To get me through election day."

From Lyle Lovett's album, My Baby Don't Tolerate

"One way - or another - I'm going find you I'm going to get you, I'm going to get you...
One day next week, if the lights are all down, then I'll follow your bus downtown..."
(Blondie's guide to stalking, "One Way or Another...")

Couple of tag lines.
"Astrology after ten PM? Astrofish.net: we're up all night so you don't have to be."
(Although, if you are up all night, there's always something new here.)

Then too, there's the upwardly mobile version:

"Sport Utility Horoscopes: astrofish.net"

Another musical interlude:
"Sweet Dreams are made of these" (Marylin Manson doing a cover - definite improvement?)

"Don't just vote! Vote Kinky!"

Where I go, when I die...
(not a musical allusion) I've found it. The perfect cemetery for me: now, I know, it was just an ad for a hotel, and I realize that the "Free High Speed" only implies fast net access, but I'm pretty sure that's what they meant.

The Fang Sway folks will explain that locating a business right by a cemetery is not wise. But how about hanging the advertising banner on the fence around the gravestones? Or, is that advertising for the graveyard?

So a burial plot with high-speed (internet)? And a kitchenette? Might even be nicer than home.

Scum Frogs

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


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Just in time

I'm not going to weigh on the planet debate, for real, because my sentiments are clouded personal experience. I'll tend to use Pluto as a significant astrological element, and just ask the Sagittarius brothers and sisters, if it is a powerful and significant element. Yea, verily.

As to whether it's going to be classified as planet, dwarf planet or just a strong asteroid? Hey, call it what you want.

Hat tip to the Gemini.

Post-post modern art

There's a collection of images, culled from the last few days. Too much to cover, and I suspect it's the heat, or the relaxed readings, but on the pedestrian walkway, on the First Street bridge, the cover-up paint, it just seemed evocative of some "modern" art. Like something in a museum.

I couldn't help but wonder about the chalk message, too, a little line from the poet of the mean streets, Charles Bukowski.

The Armadillo is gone, but buzz cuts are still five bucks.

It's all about Austin, too, from a sign outside barbershop, "Buzz Cuts $5," to my vision of post-modern art along the walls, to a quote on the sidewalk, literally.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


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Bad Battery

Thank you

Your request will be processed shortly and a confirmation email will be sent to you.

Apple will ship you a replacement battery (or batteries) as soon as possible after processing your replacement order. Shipping time may vary due to product availability. Once you receive the replacement battery, please return the old battery to Apple with the pre-paid shipping label and packaging provided.

I wonder if (home town hero) Dell moves that fast? Moving at the speed of Dell? For once, I can't be blamed if this all blows up?

From the inbound email:

>On Aug 23, 2006, at 8:22 PM, ya'll wrote:

>As I have gotten a little further down

>this astrological path which presumably

>will be a life long quest I have

>a couple of questions please.

> 1. How much does the D.O.B. affect

>the accuracy of a natal chart? i.e.,

>over the years I have had charts

>done on family, friends and lovers and

>if I didn't know the time of birth I would

>use 6am. What areas would

>potentially be off?

It's not the DOB so much as the TOB, and what that will effect is the houses, and potentially, the moon's sign. Rising Sign, house placement, all of that is affected by time. In days of yore, the first software - had something like 90% of the market - would automatically set birth times for noon. That created a whole series of charts that are potentially off. When I see one of those old chart, from a dot matrix printer, I mentally rotate the chart 90 degrees, and check for possible errors.

When I'm unaware of the time, if the client doesn't know, I tend to use something close to sunrise, as I've found that's usually fairly accurate. When I'm doing a live reading - I've done this for a long time - I can rectify a chart on the fly.

This made me think about a client's chart at a recent event, and the client argued with me about the rising sign, insisting the TOB was such and such and the rising sign was such and such. As I proceeded through the recitation, I kept in mind, and mentioned, that the rising sign might be off, and I based my prognostications on more tangible elements, like the degree of Mars, Venus, and so forth.

I've been at this game long enough to know that planets incline but do not dictate. I also understand that there will be subtle variations, and I'm - painfully so - aware that some planets might not be where the client wants them.

This was only the second pissing match I've gotten into with a potential client, and while I was working, I was careful, too, since the data was only one hour off. When I work with suspect information, I handle it accordingly. The suspect datum was later clarified, and the rising sign was what the client wanted. The time was different from what I was repeatedly told.

But that problem points out the answer to the question, and when I'm "live," I don't let it interfere with the work. However, being off by an hour on a birth time can change the symbolism of a chart.

If there's a planet at zero degrees or 29 degrees, 59 minutes, or the moon is late (or early) then it's a bit of guess. A few probing questions can usually render a quick calculation that can pinpoint the ascendant, the moon's sign and so forth.

The houses - 12 houses - change every two hours. The moon changes signs about every two and half days. So when the moon is early or late, then birth time gets a little more important.

I watched one professional astrologer get absolutely silly about time of birth, and just few minutes off radically changed an interpretation. I'm not like that. Besides, at this stage of life, the astrology chart is about trends, past, present, and most important, future.

[b>N.B.[/b>, I process all of the astrology chart reports myself. When I see suspect data, or an unknown birth time, I can usually get in the ball park with a birth time, in a matter of minutes. That's the advantage of having a human processing the information.

 >2. How the heck does being born during an

>eclipse affect a person?

There's a whole school of astrology - several in fact - based on the natal eclipse patterns. Spiritual Astrology by, I think Spiller and someone else, my copy is on the bookshelf over the bed and I can't see it from here, is the best reference I've found so far.

Then too, there's the whole question of the nodes of the moon, and that's one that I have fun with - it's Shakespeare reference, incorrectly glossed in most Shakespeare texts, one character is "born under the Dragon's Tail (Moon's Node) and that is usually thought - by scholars - to mean the constellation Draconis, where, in fact, the passage is a bit of astrology lore. I think it's in Lear.

Haircut 100

But not that Haircut 100

Before, After & color swatches:



Choices for the next color.

c.f.: the The Hair Color Girl (aka, Red-Headed Capricorn)

Virgo days

(Yeah, and Virgo nights, too, I suppose.) Blackberry addiction, is it real? Not fit for publication:

N.B.: This is all conjecture. Strictly a hypothetical. Didn't happen. Just a fervid, febrile thought. Not suitable for a horoscope, but I did consider it.

So it's late at night, and I was just poking around at various media items on the internet. No big deal, looking for interesting links and all, news stories, the condition of the world, and so forth. Looking at video feeds, as well.

But suppose our hypothetical web browser clicks through on some ad for a singles site, and suppose, again, this is completely fictitious, browser clicks on layer down and finds himself on a porno site. And then, while scanning images from the various film snippets offered, there's a familiar face. I'm not saying it's an ex-wife, but you know, it could happen....

And then there's the lurid details, must be 18 to get this far, and there's the ex, doing things she wouldn't ever do with our made-up browser, and apparently, enjoying them, to gauge from the moans and gaging noises. Then, in another sequence, all hypothetical, there's the ex, performing something she said she'd never do. And seemingly enjoying it.

Glad I live like a monk.

Fit for publication?
I watched the car trailered up and back a couple of times, wondering if it was an ad, or a movie. Looks like it was a mobile movie set.

Cherchez le petite poisson:

Watermelon-colored worm, soaked in garlic, the flavor bass crave, and here's the odd part, yeah, it's a fish story, see, I was about to call it a morning and get back to work, when I decided that I wanted to careful observe the worm sinking, try and determine what count I could use for what depth. Close in to the shoreline, I was watching as that worm was slowly wiggling its way down, and then, a flurry of activity. Splashing, reeling, epic struggle.

Shakespeare graphite pole, Ambassador reel, Cajun line, in case any of those guys would like to sponsor me. You know, good product placement.


I'm not sure what the message is.

Two-Meat Tuesday

it's really all about the money, isn't it? Blogging for dollars. Last time I checked, ad revenue here was running about a dime a day, that's ten cents. Not some moniker for the big bucks.

Time wasters.

What Author Guy book are you?

You are Practical Demonkeeping
Take this quiz!

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I'll bet, no, just wonder, if this was a PR stunt gone bad.

Fast diesel:

Fast Diesel.

Myth Buster:

Scary stuff.

Repo Man

That was weird.
Forever weird feedback, and this isn't about something that involves a guitar and a Marshall Stack.
Sunday afternoon, woman strolls up, apprises me, then tells me I did a reading for her, maybe ten years ago, and I told her that she was going to work with children and she thought I was full of male bovine organic by-product.
Well lo and behold, she finished a degree, and the next thing she knows, she's involved in teaching children. Huh. Just stopped off to tell me I was right.

Coffee Break:

Or world domination. One of those, anyway.

Musical interlude(s):

Turn out the lights
Turn on the radio
Hang on tight
(Take me low)
Green means stop
Red means go
Going for a ride down
Down Wallisville Road

Wallisville Road - Lyle Lovett

"This song is for my mother."
"And the boy she raised"

(Bonecrusher by Soul Hat)

"I'm a high straight in Plainview
A side bet Idalou, and a resh deck in New Deal"

Amarillo Highway, as performed by REK

"And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply."

From Fatboy Slim's Pallokaville.

"Back in the USSR...."

Dead Kennedy's version

Love me do

Flaco Jimenez version

"Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days."
From T. S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" (Lines 58-9)


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Tiny geek goodies
Long day at work, long road home.

The final word on planet names.

Best Quiz about what your browser says about you.

Visit historic Bastrop?

And what better way to get to Bastrop than in a Country Squire? There's an eloquent memory there.

Less than a handful
Pretty worn out from working.
Totally weird:
A few London Tube Stations.

Truth in advertising:
MacBook hack.

Off to work.
But first, a metal moment. The whole post was kind of weird, in a strange way. There are three elements with which, I am unfamiliar. The setting, the band, and the celebrity brought up on stage. I vaguely recognize the song. Sort of.

"Awhile to work, and after holiday."
Shakespeare's The Tragedy of King Richard the Second (III.i.46)

And the Austin schedule.

fredlet and Sharpies. (bracket) Insert witty comment here. (backslash bracket)

[i[Weird stats:
The (paid subscribers) video (quicktime)? It's burning 10% of the bandwidth used as indicated by the site's traffic meter. (Free) audio has more traffic, but less volume.

Fished my little heart out, all morning. I had a special lure, a special rig, worked, right in front of my eyes, the day before, right here. But then, 30 miles due east? I could see fish chasing, and few, tentative nibbles, but no, no fish.

Truck panel
(now in the fine print, too)

Scenic shot

(close up)

But it was a mighty fine morning to be out and on the lake, and it was possible to observe the fish. Numerous occasions. I just figure that the fish are onto most of our current bag of tricks, and a new bag is required.

Vincit Qui Primum Gerit:
"You take cash?"
"Only big bills."
And then, a little later?
"Don't start with me."

(It was one of the girls who works at Sandy's. Thursday Special, some days, it just can't be beat, the temp was probably near a 100, and it was hot on the patio.)

Or maybe, not so much. Up early and out of here to hit the lake.

Morning testing:

Margarita Worm on a #3 offset-worm hook. Fish hardly weighed a pound, but fought enough for three pounds.

Five Second Rule:
Enough said.

Yeah Buddy:
Irony anyone?

12th Planet:
Thank you. Send me no more links. I picked it up the other afternoon, pre-announcement announcement. The discussion has raged, in scientific circles, for many months, more than a year? I think. I spend some time in Southern (South Eastern, really) New Mexico - whose motto is "Just like old Mexico, only cleaner."

The deal is that, in that environment, the guy who 'discovered' Pluto is revered as a local hero. Therefore, Pluto and Pluto-like planets have to be planets, rather than demoting Pluto to the point of being an asteroid - hint: it's actually a double planet which fits with an astrology theory I've developed.

Now, consider my time in hotels in El Paso. This one hotel, for five or six years, that hotel only had about 15 channels on the TV. Not that I'd notice, except that, on Sunday nights, after dinner and before bed? 12 of those 15 channels were Xena re-runs. So it seemed. The other channel was a hotel ad and two Spanish channels.

I doubt that I ever watched a whole episode. Lucy Whathersname, swinging around a claymore, and that little sidekick, who was supposed to get a planet's name. That sidekick was the perfect Virgo. "I don't think you should do that," and "someone might get hurt," and always with the voice of reason. As near as I could tell. I couldn't ever stomach a whole episode, I just know it was on, and there was that big woman waving a sword around. And her sidekick.

Actual conversation:
I answered the phone, "What's up, baby?"
"Hey, I'm going to sex shop this afternoon, I've got to pick something up for the young man, you want to go ?"

I can't make any comments, other than I declined the offer.

Hot Weather:
Almost hit forty Wednesday: 40 degrees Celsius.

Two-Meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> "Pleasure and action make the hours seem short."
Shakespeare's Othello (II.iii.285)

Fish day:
Subtitle: some days, the fish win.

Road Picture

Testing new hardware.

I rolled home Monday afternoon, a long walk in from the airport, dragging my suitcase and laptop. Interesting image. Didn't get a chance to get geared up for 4 AM alarm clock, but that's the way it goes, some days.

The barometer was falling, which means, the fish would be rising. All they seemed to do was taunt us. However, it was such a pleasant morning on the lake with a Virgo. Cool, not hot at all, fish were jumping, and I did, actually, catch one fish. Didn't count, it was a small perch.

Had some BBQ, then wandered home since I had a reading - with a Virgo. Seemed like the fish truck was the closest I'd get to fish. Then it was the reading, and another, Virgo, then I wanted to test a new arrangement....

Which hooked a wee, tiny bass. Safe back in the lake, hope it grows up to play again.

Phones, huh?
Phones huh?

Ides of August
Other than "hot and humid"? Don't know that there's much else.

Miscellaneous quote:
What dies doesn't vanish. It stays here in the world, transformed, dissolved, as parts of the world, and of you. Which are transformed in turn - without grumbling.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book VIII, #18

"I can change harmonicas faster than kiss a duck...." (Johnny Cash's Orange Blossom Special)

Highway Star (Deep Purple)

Ghost Riders in the Sky (Duane Eddy)

I still need to find that definitive Marty Robbins, as Western Texas is still a spot for me - (El Paso, Southeastern NM, which is called "Little Texas," and so forth).

Fishing this morning. Yes, think I'll get me to a lake right soon now. Weather cooperating.

"One way, or another...." (Blondie)

Road dogs
That should be, could be, some kind of a collection of stories. Trials and tribulations within the spiritual realm and trying to make a buck.

I've seen places and businesses come and go. So far, I'm still here.

Coffee Road Dogs:
Still here and still good.

But the rest of Las Cruces? The strip mall has arrived. Although, at the sporting goods store, the guy working with didn't know what a popping cork was. Guess there's not a lot of ocean fishing here.

Real Rood Dogs I:
Still, there's something about a coffee shop that has a tenuous attachment to a university, and the characters therein. Makes it good. Worthwhile.

New files:
(Free) audio and (paid subscribers) video (quicktime).

Sunday Supper:
"Even the ranch dressing has green chillies." (Capricorn)

Save the truck stop
Wandered into the El Paso Truck Terminal for some breakfast, the other morning. The Cancer girl, previously mentioned, was working, she seated us, in a nearly empty truck stop, and the Pisces proceeded to serve us, and answering my questions in her broken English.

The story is, since El Paso passed their no smoking ban, the truck stop's long haul business was going elsewhere. So, the truck stop is no longer a 24-hour restaurant, which, according the Pisces, caused the customer's to protest, staying away in droves.

I had a thought, the no smoking and various other considerations could easily be stemmed by electing a new governor - a non-political governor who is beholden unto no special interest groups

Except, maybe, teachers.

Save the truck stop - vote Kinky!

Dogging Road Images
Just a couple of shots from the road.

Just the thought of a cookbook, "Cooking with Children." Various recipes for kids?

Odd endings
"You sun burn'd sicklemen, of August weary,
Come hither from the furrow, and be merry:
Make holiday."
Shakespeare's The Tempest (IV.i.144-6)

Mindless rambling:
At some point, and this was a very clever interview, it rang a distant - and pleasing - note with me. It's about sustainability. Doing the job for love, rather than for anything else.

Road Dogs I:
Real time air traffic.

Road Dogs II:
I think it's from a Cory Morrow song:
"I've got some fond memories of San Angelo
And I've seen some beauty queens in El Paso
But the best looking women that I've ever seen
Have all been in Texas, all wearing jeans."

Road Dogs III:
It's a really cheap ticket to the airport, one whole dollar. Just means it takes me a little longer because I prefer public transportation. I got conflicting stories, no carry-on, no liquids in the checked baggage, and two-hour delays. It's not an international flight. It's not a national flight. It's just between two cities in the same state. Hardly a target, but to the credit of the staff and crew? Flawless service.

Miscellaneous quotes:
If you've seen the present then you've seen everything - as it's been since the beginning, as it will be forever. The same substance, the same form. All of it.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book VI, #37

If they've made a mistake, correct them gently and show them where they went wrong. If you can't do that, then the blame lies with you. Or no one."
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book X, #4.

Road Dogs IV:
My little Scorpio friend walked up and sat by me at the airport, while the two of us gossiped. Told me to save her a seat on the flight, but, as might be expected, a long-legged Gemini popped down, before I could protest too much.

Road Dogs V:
Flooding in El Paso? Rainmakers, huh. "Let it roll. Down the highway!"

Road Dog VI:
Upon arrival, and only after I got off the airplane and out of the airport, only then, late into the evening, did I get chance to catch up on the international news. Ended with notes about travel, and how that's going to change again. I travel pretty spartan these days, looks like I'll be even more restricted. Or something.

Mangled Latin: In Vino Veritas, In Servicio Felicitas.

4 seasons
The joke is, Austin doesn't have four seasons, just Summer and Houston. Lately, it's been "Houston."

I suppose there's a quick side trip here, too, or sidebar item, about a friend of mine, we did some time on the trail the other day. I was dragging, not from the heat, it wasn't quite a 100, but it was humid. My friend (Capricorn - raised in Houston, TX) said it wasn't really all that humid.

The next time, we both checked, and it was over 50% humidity. To me, that's a tad humid. To her? That's nothing. Dry, even.

But this wasn't really about the seasons, or the weather, other than the weather as a supporting point. I had to meet some clients at the Four Seasons hotel. Me? I'm perfectly happy in such a rarified environment, but to be honest, this is only the third or fourth time I've been there, and only the third time - in a decade - for a reading.

As one client was pointing out, "It's relatively quiet, and while there are a couple of famous people here, they don't remember me so we're not going to be disturbed...."

And we were left, unmolested, for the requisite two hours, and I paged through a great deal of data about charts, and there was the oddest connection, three of us, all with the same moon sign.

One of the clients had just come from a quick swim in Barton Creek - the city run pool. Her hair was still damp when we started. I was cooling my heels in a coffee shop across town (3 blocks away), having what had to be one of the best single shots of espresso I've ever had in Austin.

The service at the 4 Seasons bar was admirable, and since I didn't pick up the check, I've no idea about the price of my drink. But in comparison, the shot of espresso I just had at a slightly more seedy place was much, much better. There, it looked like a thimble-full of Guinness. Compare and contrast? Not sure it's a fair comparison - I don't think the bar help at the 4 Seasons had any tattoos of Surrealistic Artists & Art, and for that matter, no ink was visible at all - on any of the staff. Not that it matters, just a casual observation. 4 Seasons wine list was more impressive, don't think any of it came from a box.

Before I'd left to make the meeting, a sweet Pisces had called to check in, and I wondered about the dress code at the Four Seasons, if my casual look would be okay. While we talking, I was hopping across a piece of hot tarmac, broken blacktop, barefoot, no shirt, a phone headset plugged into each ear, and fishing pole in my hand.

"It is Austin, just remember to take a shirt with you, when you go up there."

Thursday is video day
Just a few, to make my day brighter. Or not.
Typical weekly missive:

(external link)

Well that explains mybehavior.

More Austin propaganda. Even propaganda.

Austin [b>is not cool[/b>. Don't move here. You can't take the heat.

Remember our mantra?

Road Hard:
Travel schedule is here.

Los dos carnes mardi
I had an interesting encounter on the trail, not the first time someone has stopped and asked me for directions. Nice little swim in Barton Creek, and then I settled in to be served by a Scorpio. She offered up several newspapers, but what I was looking for was a Houston Chronicle. Political upheaval - always nice to get the sympathetic local coverage - and detailed information about oil business, that bit with the collection lines in Alaska. What was nice, and as near as I can tell, I've frequented that place for several years now, named a book after the Tuesday special, and still, I think that Scorpio was the first to get my order right, first try.

New mac news:
New Mac deal. I've always been a supporter, in my own way.

Mystery & Community:
I learned some of this, well, a long time ago.

Decline & Fall:
All depends on the music? If only I'd known.

Yeah, I'd like one of those signs:
Seen them before, No Mobiles.

Kidding, right?
Apparently, or maybe, not?

Designer jeans:
Whilhom, Levi's were made in El Paso and San Antonio. Off-shore, now and thereby, not always a favored purchase - anymore. But this makes me wonder...

Cherchez les poissons:

There's a whole story behind a single (very tiny) fish's story here. Wasn't the first one I caught, but it was the first one to make it into a picture, times being what they are. Be a good horoscope.

Feast Day
It's a Catholic Moment....
August 13, the Feast Day of St. Cassian (I hope I spelled that correctly): the patron saint of teachers.

Travel news
Short paper clipping:
"O, how full of briers is this working-day world!"
Shakespeare's As You Like It (I.iii.8)

Cosmic Muffin
That's me, out of the loop, on the latest, I didn't find this until this week, and now it's old news so I can't do one of those eulogies. Which, based on third-hand evidence alone, would result in the late Cosmic Muffin to roll in his grave, anyway.

I was informed by an editor a the time, that the Muffin didn't like my suggestion that I was his in-bred cousin from the south. Ah well, mores the shame. Bless him, he was an early inspiration.

Never could tell if it was real, or just an affectation of the management, trying to keep us artistes apart - kept us from talking.

"Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline,
What's mine is yours, and what is yours is mine."
Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (V.i.550-1)

Just an image
Or two. From Austin, before the afternoon rain.


About that Saturn thing? The weekly video will cover some of the news...


"That present time's so sick,
That present medicine must be minister'd,
Or overthrow incurables ensues."
Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John (V.i.17-19)

Both of us were fishing - one was more successful.

Ad Hominem Horoscopes: I glanced through a website's listing for some news item, and as is my wont, I clicked on the horoscopes because it was a (famous author) branded scopes. For the Friday scope, it said that, "The Moon is in Sagittarius all weekend."

Ho-hum. I did a reading Thursday evening, and local time (CDT) the moon entered Sagittarius. At roughly two-and-a-half days per sign, by my calculations, that means the moon leaves Sagittarius, sometime Saturday evening, and from the looks of it, the moon is Void Of Course (no major angles) for the last ten hours of that time in the sign.

Which means, the author wasn't paying attention to details. Or maybe I'm wrong, but I usually include Sunday in my weekends. But that could be me.

Friday note

"In nature's infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read."
Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (I.ii.7-8)

So that's explains that. Sure, it's all clear now.

Fluff: From the "why didn't I think of that?" department.

I wonder if this move by AOL will really have the impact desired? I'd love to have my old AOL account back, but it was supposed to be "free for life," and it ran out in Y2K. Cretins.

My beloved:
Old news by now, but a 'book was hacked. Point being, left open an unsecured, just about any wireless device can be commandeered. Why I always practice safe hex (hexadecimal).

Chevy Trucks:
Looks like they're going hybrid.

Advice: (inbound mail)

On Aug 4, 2006, at 7:34 AM, ya'll wrote:
> HI Kramer:
>Thank you again for my recent reading and also a compelling horoscope
> for this week. Excellent advice, as of late, met up with a very gentle
> Scorpio man, and have the desire (not acting on it) to talk his ear off.
> Weird. In this instance, it is best to be quiet.

> Anyway......thank you.

Perceptions, South Austin style
Subtitle: it could only happen here.

I had an afternoon appointment at a coffee shop. Had to meet a client and give that person the low down on the down low in her astrology chart. I got there a little early so I could scarf up some delicious grub, and grab an iced coffee. Cold and dark, strong, bitter. So refreshing on hot summer afternoon.

So far, this isn't remarkable at all. Just another client consulting with me about future trends.


Client calls, running late, and I'm reading the newspaper and pushing peppers and fresh basil around on the plate, moping it all up with wheat toast. In one corner, a young woman, pierced, probably tattoos, wearing black on black with (it's a guess) no bra, and she's quilting. Next to her, a fetching young man - in the beatnik way - is alongside, and with that couple, their shoulders almost touching, needle and thread, he's quilting, too.

I wasn't going to mention it, or save the image for a horoscope, but then my client shows up. There's a cooing and gentle squealing women of a certain age and disposition make, and my client greets the kid making the quilt, the young lady, and they embrace, exchange pleasantries, and then we get about out business. Which isn't remarkable, as there's nothing abnormal about seeing someone you know, or reading an astrology chart and paying attention to Saturn, Neptune, and so forth.

The girl and the guy working on the quilt exchange a few words, and that drew my attention in their direction, and over a vegetarian taco, I asked how they know each other.

"Her mom is in my coven."

Then it's back to the chart, and what struck me as so odd is that it wasn't odd. At all. Nary so much as a lifted eyebrow.

As I was wrapping up, as I can be long-winded, we exchange good wishes and money, and then a well-known cross-dressing homeless guy wanders in. He's wearing a very short black miniskirt, a tiny (stuffed) tube top, and he's sporting a lot of gray in his beard. Since I understand he hangs out there a lot, and hangs out of his outfit, this isn't odd.

Out on the street, I was headed home, and the client asks for a hug, so I go to hug her, then this homeless guy wanders up again. I can't help but smile.

"Hey, you got a joint?"

Sorry, I don't have one. Matter of fact, I doubt I'll ever have one. I'm not opposed to it, not for other folks, but the world I live in? It's odd enough without any herbal help.

Quick hits Forthcoming:
Healing words.

It's a Pisces thing:
I'm sure.

Which does lend itself to this question 8/2
Mercurial mayhem and more
Much, much more?

Yes, Mercury is no longer retrograde. And so on.

When I makes noises about "cleaning up from the mess," like I think the weekly noise alludes to, I'm reminded of a huge task I set forth at the beginning of this cycle, a simple goal of three books. It's all part of a cycle that is really five books in length, and possibly there's more in the works - I couldn't tell from the author's website.

The books were originally released about six months to a year apart. In some cases, this is dense prose, it could easily take that long to read each novel. While it's written by a "science fiction author," the books are just pure speculation and some fantasy, a little history, and some romance dashed on top, just to make it all cohesive. But it's dense stuff. Heft the book in a bookstore before undertaking it. I'll promise the material doesn't suit everyone.

I'm fond - halfway through the last book - of the running gag between two characters - Newton (Sir Isaac) and Leibniz, arguing about who invented calculus. It's a math joke - of high order. For the geek group, bound to be a crowd pleaser.

I'm glad I undertook it the project of rereading the trilogy, but now that it's time to clean it all up, I'm still only part way through the last book. That's - to me - cleaning up from mercury mayhem.

The Beeb:
Brief fluff piece about the organic farming method - and its results. The idea, though, and one tiny item I picked out, was that regular cocoa beans are usually sold to intermediaries whereas the organic ones are sold straight to the companies producing the finished product (chocolate &c.)


Other prognostications?
Couldn't agree more.

Just a hunch, though, I don't know.

Two Fish Tuesday

Couldn't have asked for more companionable weather, couldn't have asked for better conditions, but I could've boated a few more fish. And therein hangs a tale. A very fishy tale, indeed.

First fish of the day? I got one, topwater lure over some submerged grass. Only, I didn't get the fish into the boat, she unhooked herself - and she was a big one - before I got her up for a picture.

We eventually moved positions, and my fishing partner proceeded to catch several fish, at least one or two of note, maybe five altogether. We moved to another spot. Again, he caught several. To some, this would be frustrating, but to me, I was glad to be on a boat, in the middle of the lake, enjoying a relatively balmy day with a low stress factor.


I caught my second one on a grub, as we were wandering up a creek, without a paddle, and that little one - wasn't that big at all - unzipped himself before I could get a picture. But up that creek? Again, partner was doing fine, several fish on a frog. Then there was the color of one bait, to me, it looked like a watermelon & watermelon rind color, but the package was chartreuse and pumpkin seed. Which, for a minute, could've been a conversation like women talking about nail polish colors.

Eventually, my buddy lent me his frog, and I tried it in a few spots. The fish finder was showing fish right underneath us, only, none of those fish were cooperating with me - or the borrowed frog. Hey, only a true friend will lend you his frog.

So it was back towards another point, and the breeze was kicking up, and every time the low clouds would scurry in front of the sun, the water would erupt like white water, with big bass chasing small fry into the shoals.

Again, my buddy put a half dozen fish in the boat. There was some size to the fish, too, big girls, maybe not five pounds but strapping three-pounders. He was so busy, he was working two poles at once.

And me with no fish. Glad I'm not bitter or anything.

As distinct from fishing for dollars...

Up and out early to see if any fish are interested....

From Far North Dallas to North Austin, Sunday night, took like, barely two hours. Made good time. From North Austin, to home? Almost another two hours.

Pick two:
I've used this in a horoscope before, I'm sure. I used to have a sign, when I was in another business, hanging over my work desk, "You can have it: 1) right away, 2) without errors, 3) cheap. Pick two."

So after sitting through dozens of readings, how about a quick and easy way to explain it? "You can have two: 1} Money, 2) love, 3) happiness. Pick two"

Poor guide:
"You've got to be the worst [b>fishing guide[/b> I ever heard of!"

Ah, but you have heard of me?

"I want to know if I've got, uh, pockets of resistance. Tonight."
The Joker's Wild (Fatboy Slim)

Unrelated 2:
The problem with tech writing these days.

Even more unrelated:
Another jukebox.

Front Dead Back
Just a thermostat, at Gachet.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


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Dallas redux
"Glory is a like a circle in the water,
Which is never ceaseth to enlarge itself,
Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought."
Shakespeare's The First Part of King Henry the Sixth (I.ii.139-41)

Just in:
From home. Where I'll be in the morning. Afternoon.

Dining in Dallas (area):
Toy's Cafe, yonder down on Lemmon Ave, great stuff - with a little shot Thai hot sauce, brought a tear to my eye.

Mecca on Harry Hines, for breakfast - biscuits, as big as your face....

"You use the rhythm method for writing? Doesn't that lead to the pregnant pauses?" (Virgo)

Kathleen's Art Cafe on Lover's Lane.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


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Another weekend
Another road trip.
"Modest doubt is call'd
The beacon of the wise."
Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida (II.ii.17-8)

I rant about Mercury Retrograde, and in as much as I actually pay attention to such details, I'm a little more careful about the littlest planet's machinations. And while it's - strictly speaking - moving in a direct motion as of today, I've padded most of my predictions until the first of August, just to be safe.

I have no harrowing tales, no dramatic intrigues, nothing of that sort, just a much more mundane problem with Mercury. I lost my favorite cigar (lucky) lighter. It's tawdry little item, really, in the shape of a fishing lure, runs on pressurized gas, and it's been featured in a horoscope before. (c.f., Leo)

It serves at least two functions for me, one, the lighter brings me luck when fishing. So for the past weeks, there's been a relative paucity of fish. Second, it's a high pressure lighter for firing up a cigar in the face of a stiff breeze. At one time or another, the lighter has also served as a welding torch of sorts, being ever so much like a real welding torch, only, I guess, lighter.

It did go missing, when Mercury was retrograde. I know the lighter is waterproof, or water-resistant, as the scope points out. So I wasn't too worried, in case it got washed with laundry. But it didn't turn up when I finally got around to laundry from the last couple of weeks. I got a little worried, not so much what I would do - mechanical devices can be replaced if need be - but the intrinsic and sentimental value - plus the lucky charm aspect - none of that could be replaced.

The lighter did - eventually - reappear. It had been covered in a fold of leather, a simple leather strip that I use over the keyboard of laptop when I close the lid on said laptop. I had, on several occasions, done that crazy turn-everything-inside-out type of search. In a perfunctory way, of course, as I wasn't going to get upset over something that I knew wasn't really lost, just misplaced. Under the bed, in the laundry, desk drawers, kitchen, laundry again, I kept looking. Finally, I gave up. As I was getting ready for the ride to Dallas, there was the lighter, in the fold of leather. Right in front of me the entire time. Hidden, as it were, in plain sight.

I'm sure there's a homily herein, too.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Audio tour guide

Too much:
coffee man.

New [url=http://www.cafepress.com/astrofish.67927045]black t-shirt[/url].

Pesky Neighbors:
What a good idea!


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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The command was followed by a word denoting extreme cowardice.

It was addressed from a point in the creek's water, perhaps 15 or even 20 feet under the bridge. As the sign denotes, jumping from the bridge is against a city ordinance. As the plethora of signs would suggest, the signs, presumably along with the rules, are frequent targets of youthful indiscretion.

It's odd, to me, as there's a [url=www.astrofish.net]new scope[/url] up and it uses a similar warning, drawn from this very creek.

The pedestrian "hike and bike" trail wends and winds along the north and south shores of the lake/river, through many park-like settings. There's a short detour around the mouth of Barton Creek where it joins the river. The path across the creek is the bridge. The bridge is perfectly suited for summer fun, and in my long years on the trail, I've noted youths cavorting, jumping, and enjoying this illicit pleasure, almost daily in the summer.

On numerous occasions, I've been asked to try it myself because observing such action invariably provoke a smile from me. I've declined, and I will continue to decline, as I'm unsure of a number of factors, the most important being the depth of the water. With "see the fish" sunglasses, I can easily see the bottom of the creek and it looks like it's only a few feet deep. Some would say I'm wiser, but I figure it's more like I'm just older, and my bridge jumping days are over.

As I walked towards favorite spot to ease myself into the cold water, just as I was on the bridge going there, one of the guys pops up from the underbrush, soaking wet.

"Next time, I'm coming up on the other side!"

I was amused. I'm guessing he was with three other kids, undetermined age, but I'd estimate 13-15 years old. All of them were strong and resilient, typical urban kids bridge-jumping on summer afternoon in Austin. Breaking the law, too, not that it matters. I paid very little attention to the details so I cold not identify any of them.

I went for quick, cool dip in the creek myself. Dripping wet, I was headed back over the bridge when there was a new element introduced: girls. Three of them, in bikinis. Familiar with the guys. The three girls all had wet hair, so they'd either been swimming upstream or they were also jumping.

I crossed the bridge, just another pedestrian, although, I was obviously a swimmer, from the wet hair and all, and then, I turned and watched the kids.

The biggest of the girls, just hitting that first, full blossom of youth, dirty blond hair, she sat down at the high-point of the bridge, slithered under the guardrail and dropped into the water. The one dry guy, he took a ribbing one more time, and then emptied out his pockets and made for the rail.

It was lesson in what kids will do. It was also an abject lesson in what lengths a male will go to in order to impress a female.

Various permutations of the sign, and in some cases, some idea of how far it is to the surface of the water.

Can hardly wait for it to cool off, which, given the conditions, should be around the middle of December.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Odd is good
Whining is bad.

And in this Dell:
Dell opens a real store? Competing brands?

From the lit side:
Notes from an academic? (Scary part? I remember the movie as an undergrad.)

Or a zombie dance? Reminds me of something?

Two-meat Tuesday was a weird one, that's for sure. I had noon-time reading downtown, then a call from a red-head, so it was back to the BBQ place for the usual fare. Walked, went swimming, had a phone reading, and fished in between.

Cherchez le poisson:

C-rig worm on the bottom, in the afternoon, when the tide* was coming in.

*While there really isn't much discernible "tide," LCRA is lettting out water most evenings resulting in a perceptible rise in the lake's water level. Flow of the river. One of those.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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I tend to like critics who can back-up there clever wit with actual material.

What disappointed me about this review was that Scorpio was honest and claimed she didn't "get" Clerks (or maybe now it's "Clerk I" the prequel).

The other side of the review, though, and what I liked, was that it balanced and fair - in as much as I could tell - and probably a better reference and the review has the added touch of helping elucidate some of the more arcane references in the film.

Clerks II, I loved it. But I'm just a weird guy like that, and the childish humor with adult themes amuses me.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Puro Texican
Los Lonely Boys - At the Majestic.

I got excited about the billing for Los Lonely Boys because the marquee had [url=www.delcastillo.com]Del Castillo[/url] opening the show. Which is amusing because the last time I saw this pair of bands, it was Los Lonely Boys opening for Del Castillo.

Los Lonely Boys and Sacred.

The Majestic is grand a old theater and quite a suitable venue. Del Castillo opened with a high energy TexMex set, hitting some favorites, or so I'll assume, and a large portion of the crowd seemed to be there for the opening act. Understandable, as a the two brothers on guitars were ever as a amazing as ever, and for the short set, the pair (Cancer and Scorpio, as I recall), were on accoustic guitars, and the legendary fretwork was astonishing.

Del Castillo - basically the whole band - is from Corpus, despite what some web references suggest. Led by two brothers...

Los Lonely Boys islos hermanos Garza, Ringo on drums, Jojo on Bass, and Henry (or Henri) on guitar. All from San Angelo.

A few numbers off the first album, a few bits from the new album, and instead of just replicating the album's noises, there was a degree of improvisation, perhaps practiced, but longer than the recorded versions.

The guitar work is pretty amazing, and it's a cross between ZZ Top (old school), and for some reason, I kept thinking of old Rolling Stones. Begs a comparison to Carlos Santana, too.

And while those May be influences, as I was sitting, then standing,m listening, I realized that it was a wholly individual sound. The point was reiterated, several times over, it was pure Texan.

There is an obvious Mexican influence, and playing in San Antonio, I'm sure, there would be the indulgence of pandering to such an element, but I liked the way that the Hermanos Garza balanced two languages.

There was another balancing act, as well, as first their father was invited on stage for a couple of songs, and then, later, their mother was dragged up from the audience, much to the surprise and appreciation of los hermanos.

It was good show, that's for sure. The encore was both Hermoas Garza, Los Lonely Boys y Hermans Castillo, Del Castillo, more or less. With a rousing three-guitar salute to SRV.

Puro Texican. Make no mistake.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Inbound mail
On Jul 21, 2006, at 12:16 PM, ya'll wrote:

>I've always been curious - how ever did you get into
>the profession of astrology?  How long have you been
>doing this?  How many readings do you do a week
>(outside of shows)?  What did you do before you became
>this fishing guide to the stars?
>Just curious...

Dear Curious:

I stumbled in astrology, like many events in my life, sort of sideways. When I was associated with the retail sale of spirits (bar tender, manager, owner, &c.) I noted a correlation between the full moon and liquor sales. Add to that the chance of calling in the police to break up a disturbance, approximately two or three days after a full moon? That correlation between heavenly bodies and human behavior is part art, part science, and part (unknown) - these days, I refer to it as astrology.

In English Literature, the Middle English undergraduate class, I kept encountering references to Chaucer's astrology. At that author's time, astrology and astronomy were the same academic discipline. Oh for the good old days.

I wrote my first set of horoscopes in 1987, or thereabouts. Some folks in AZ still have paper copies of such, buried, no doubt, in archives.

I took a couple of classes, and in one case, I found out that what the liberal arts education I had, wherein I was taught to "synthesize," was appropriate for astrology. I'd been reading cards for a while, and astrology was a natural fit. Astrology helped with timing.

I also found that there was little "new" astrology, something I could relate to. It was always, "Love, money, travel, family." The same daily stuff shoveled out by computers these days.

By the summer of 1993, I started writing a monthly column, which then got posted on a website by 1994, and that cascaded to a weekly column by 1995.

Committing prediction to print is a way of trying to see if it will work. I've turned the weekly column into a test-bed for theories, when the feedback is "you're way off this week," then I can assume that the astrological hypothesis doesn't work.

Astrology is nothing more than a language like French or Physics. It's a matter of learning what the symbols mean and then, what I try to do, is translate what those symbols mean into a language that real people can understand.

When I talk planets and signs, it's a form a verbal shorthand to express energies.

As far as the number of readings in a week? That varies. I watched as a number of health care professionals (typically therapists of one ilk or another) would have a pretty high burn rate. They were tending to last two years in a position then changing - burnt out. Happens with a number of readers, too.

To prevent that from happening to me, since this is part of the job that I like, I limit myself to no more than three full readings in a day, The first time, I have to spend a little extra time sorting out the natal chart in addition to making predictions based on future trends. After that, it just gets easier.

Some weeks, I'm lucky to do one or two readings, but that allows more time for walking, fishing, and writing. Other weeks? I'm all booked up. Been a slow July, but that's expected.

Fishing Guide to the Stars was a tag line I'd posited on a mentor. It was not welcomed. I started using it myself, a couple of brain storms later, the original "cosmic bass boat" was part of the original design.

The rest is [url=http://www.astrofish.net/media/index.html]history[/url] and in the [url=http://www.astrofish.net/xkramerw/archive.html]archives[/url], along with a fanciful [url=http://www.astrofish.net/XElvis/bio.html] (slightly dated) bio[/url].


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Fish on Friday
(not big, but it is a bass)

Mercury in Leo:
I couldn't help but wonder, Mercury won't be in Leo again [url=http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20060721]mid-August[/url].

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Moody Blues
Not moody, not blues, but the - what was it called? Art Rock?

Progressive rock, that was it. To Our Children's Children Children and On The Threshold of a Dream

On The Threshold of a Dream has a cut that starts out with "When the white eagle of the north" or some similar line.

The other evening, while in a certain coffee shop, recently mentioned in a horoscope, I was in the bathroom, unisex bathrooms, or dual purpose restrooms, and there was a chalkboard against one wall. I started reading the message. It was that Mood Blues' soliloquy. Which prompted me to listen to the album again, although, it's not really an album for me, anymore, as it's a CD that's been ripped onto an iPod.

So I was listening to the entire collection of songs, over again, and that got me wondering a little, what was it doing up on the wall, in location where, to be honest, most of the clientele wasn't even in the idea of conception stage. 1969 album, means it was done in 1968, or thereabouts. From the online notes I found, it looks like the albums were 1969 and 1970 releases.

Consider that timing. Then again consider the age of the owner of that neighborhood hangout.

Point being? Sometimes, there isn't one.

(But I still enjoy the recorded music.)

"Send me no wine."

Sound designer and Foley artist.


Had to back up and look something up. Handy desk reference.

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Not soon enough
"In dreaming
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me."
Shakespeare's The Tempest (III.ii.101-4)

I really should've gotten into the iPod Accessory business.


I'm all about saving the girls (it's really about folk art.)

Reading [url=http://www.astrofish.net/readlist.htm]list[/url]:
Quicksilver leads directly to The Confusion, and for a change, I'm not lifting any material or style, from either novel. I'm glad I took it upon myself to reread the novels. Rather a daunting venture, but I'm true to myself and my own advice, about carrying large book to read - at all times - when Mercury is in its apparent confused state.

It's got that very wry Scorpio humor present, droll, dry, witty, almost too cute, but the layer upon layer of material, internal and external references, all makes for good intellectual candy. Not for everyone, but rather fun in a puzzling way. In part, the material must be mental gymnastics for the author, and yet the interleaving of material is ever so much fun - a good lesson in pacing.

European history, English history, pirates, messy love triangles, and the hard, cold stones of France.


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You Are 72% Abnormal

You are at high risk for being a psychopath. It is very likely that you have no soul.

You are at high risk for having a borderline personality. It is very likely that you are a chaotic mess.

You are at medium risk for having a narcissistic personality. It is somewhat likely that you are in love with your own reflection.

You are at medium risk for having a social phobia. It is somewhat likely that you feel most comfortable in your mom's basement.

You are at high risk for obsessive compulsive disorder. It is very likely that you are addicted to hand sanitizer.

Two items today.
Two points, both astrological, and one of them, at least, I thought would be good in a different form, but I just thought I'd hammer it out here.

More on Saturn:
Saturn has - basically - a 28-year orbit. Half of that is 14, and one quarter is 7. Ever heard of the "Seven Year Itch"? Oblique movie allusion, I'm sure.

I stumbled on a link and I loved the story. Real or imagined, it's funny to me. Then I hit on the astrology association, happened after 7 years of marriage. There's a hint there. Plus he bought new underwear.

I know nothing about the particulars behind the posting, but all I could think was, "Right on!"

(Guys - please note: don't piss her off.)

Mercury and Mars:
I was tightening the strap on my sandals, carving a new hole in said strap, and cinching up the shoes for a long walk. I whipped out a trusty pocketknife with a long, slender locking blade. I punched the hole, the buckle wouldn't buckle, so I punched it a little more, carved on it some more, finally, I worked the buckle into the new hole, my sandals were tighter and ready for long haul.

This left an extra flap of leather strap and using the same knife, I held the excess leather to my thumb, and I made to slice it off.

It's a sharp knife. Not the sharpest, but with a fresh hone, it can feel razor-sharp. Cut through the tough leather like it was butter. Created a nice incision on the ball of my thumb, too.

The next day, while I was slipping into the now-tighter sandals, my index finger slipped, and my nail gouged a tiny scrap of flesh out of a knuckle.

I can easily suggest that an errant Mercury caused the problems. But that's also a misrepresentation, too, since Mercury, in apparent retrograde motion, didn't cause the problem, it was how I approached the problems, and that's the real source of difficulty. In both cases, I was a little more sloppy than I should be. Mercury, Mars, or just me?



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Just odd stuff on Monday
Open source problems.

Sexist crap online:
Never claimed not to be a stinker.


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Odd bits
Wheelock's Latin - saw a guy in a coffee shop, working with it. Then I found a copy in a used bookstore. Didn't buy it, though, it's not like I need any more dead language texts.

At the movies:
(Not quite - haven't seen the movie yet)
Austin-ite, Richard Linklater, and his most recent film A Scanner Darkly, has an interesting - to me - Saturn thing going on.

If he turns 46 at the end of this month, then he's born in 1960, and that puts his Sun between the last few degrees of Cancer or in the first few degrees of Leo. If I recall, he's Cancer. And when he was working hard on the film, then he was also laboring under Saturn.

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Writing on the wall
I'm sure there's a message in the Drake Bridge (First Street) graffiti. I couldn't make it out, though.

While it's certainly not the best collection of the art of expressing an artistic craving on the blighted urban landscape, I still find some its messages intriguing. But it's a very temporal kind of message, too, since, by now, I'm sure, the city has painted over the messages.
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Summer nights
Sweet, delicious summer nights.
(subtitle: how this works)
It might be a hard lesson in Customer Service, it could very well be the fact I hadn't finished making morning coffee Thursday morning, but as I glanced through the inbound e-mail, there was plaintive plea, a short note along the lines of, "love your site, but Im having money issues, please cancel my subscription...."

Since I'd just been mucking about with the subscription data the night before, I had fresh back-up, and there was the datum that I needed, the little code from the computer. For a $2.95 subscription, I usually just tell the subscriber to do it themselves via PayPal - why it's set up like this so I don't have to handle their credit cards.
But I recognized the name, and the subscriber had been with the site - at $2.95 a month - for some time. I still hadn't finished making coffee - water hadn't boiled yet - so I went into the PayPal thing, found the last subscription payment, hit the cancel button, and the deed was done.

Then I e-mailed back a short note with an alternative login and password, one that will work for the next couple of months, since I'm a nice guy.
Just as a business note about the subscription service, what I've figured out is that the competition charges three to ten times as much as I do. Minimum charge on other, similar sites is $29.95 per quarter, or just under ten bucks a month. I'm still a good deal. Even at $6 per extended audio message, that's still a lot more than $2.95 for 30 days, which will include 4 weekly scopes (Thursday) and 4 weekly video messages (Monday).
Budget space:
A space station built on a tight budget?
Let others make the mistakes: All about the blunders that we make. And what to learn from them. During Mercury RX.
Media bias: Point being, don't trust a liberal bias.

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Two signs from Austin.

Historical plaque, along the fabled 6th StreetThe text on the historical plaque was what intrigued me. Of note, the building gets a historical plaque in a location that was first saloon then bawdy house. While we have precious few "Washington slept here" plaques, we do commemorate our outlaw ways.

Strictly an Austin attitude? Or is it more pervasive? Unrelated, but not so much: Strange little quiz about watersheds & wildlife, and the challenge to score over 25. Which, for me, was easy.

Of course, part of my morning routine, even in the dead heat of summer, includes a little time by the lake's shoreline, usually I'll have a fishing pole. From insects to bats to birds to fish, I can name what's native, not native, the source of the water, the extent of the aquifer, and where the waste goes. What flowers bloom first, approximate time, seasonal plants, non-native seasonal plants, where the sun rises at the solstice and equinox, and the exact phase of the moon at this moment.

In that top picture, my hair is wet, shorts are damp, and there's a faint aroma of creek water, Barton Creek, and I was obviously just in the creek. Part of that watershed.

And where the drinking water comes from. Mine's usually from a bottle.

I had a client, she'd birthed 6 children by the time she was thirty. I asked if she figured out where the children were coming from.

"I didn't get pregnant until I moved to Austin, so it must be the ."
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Spurious bits
That's all.
Just a little Central Texas hi-tech scare.
Choice political bit:
Best current events wrap on the southern neighbors. No taco today: I can't tell if this is really news worthy, but whatever. Why we need more gadgets? It's - apparently - genetic. I wonder if that will work for justification?

Which begs the question: How much does that cost? Answer: estimates at $3-400K/month? shopad Laeti edimus qui nos subigant! astrofish (click to visit)7/11
Imagine that.

Apple riffs and Barton Springs, not in that order.
(Summer self-portrait)

Musical note: "Which one is Pink?" Sad note. From the humor list: I got an item from a joke list, but it wasn't really humor, more like a serious tome. Which, considering the source, makes it even better. shopadThen, a funny thing happened at the BBQ place today, but wait, that'll go in a scope.

Musical stars
Just as an odd note, this is where I started before I flamed out on that car tangent. This is about music. And astrology, the "music of the spheres." And a hat tip to The Fat Guy for not tipping my hand.

For the last dozen years, "Eighties Music" has haunted me. I was pondering this question, I mean, some of the music was just "synth-pop," and "new wave" was an answer to punk, and, in the event the dates are not clear, a little channel called MTV was introduced. The time that interest me most was 1980-82. There was a long and ongoing conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter.

Saturn Conjunct Jupiter:
1901 Capricorn
1921 Virgo
1940-1 Taurus
1961 Capricorn
1980-1 Libra
2000 Taurus
2020 Aquarius

Every twenty years or so, huh. As Bob Dylan once suggested, "There was music in the cafes at night/And revolution in the air."

I have this very visceral tie to the music from that era, the early 1980s. I couldn't pin it down, and I have long since written it off as just another one of my personal foibles, but there's something else there. I was chatting with some people I know - who just happen to have ultimate slacker jobs working in a coffee shop. I was introduced to a new guy, and of course I inquired, and when he said the year, I sparkled. Part of that early 80's group. I tend to favor them as they have this little conjunction - Saturn and Jupiter - in Libra.

Clutching an icy, bitter brew (espresso on ice - clear on the concept), I wandered off into the summer's heat, pondering an early 80's astrology chart, and then, my thoughts tend to wander, much as I do, almost in a pointless fashion.

The music that I'm attracted to, or that still lingers and matters, the material that seems to stick around - started with one radio station, and then, it moved to multitude of others, the noon-time slot, usually, nothing but "80's Music!" the DJ cries. shopadThat conjunction comes along every 20 years, or thereabouts, so it's not like this all that rare, but two or three sets of charts intrigue me, 1940-1, 1960-61.

Most of that material goes back to the 1980-1983 time period. Bump it down to 1979, with a nod towards some of the material, but it was an answer to the unasked questions.

There's something else there, too, but Mercury is backwards, and I'm lost.


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"You know who you look like?"

"No, no I don't - I mean, other than myself," I replied.


"No, dude, like, you look like Ted Nugent, you know, the 'motor city madman,' I mean, you know, you do."

Oh yeah.

Rock on. subadLaeti edimus qui nos subigant! astrofish (click to visit)

Just a couple of quick hits



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Saturday afternoon, I bought tickets - in advance - the regular (matinee) of "Pirate of the Dead Man's Booty," or whatever the latest Johnny Depp/Pirates of the Caribbean film is.

Sadly, it's the the second of three. Gladly, it was almost 2 and half hours long. Sadly, the Alamo Drafthouse didn't [b]stress[/b] the obvious menu choice - calamari. How good that would have been, throughout the movie. I settled for a shrimp quesodilla and a shot of espresso.

The movie rolled along, swashbuckling one-liners, and for the better part of two hours, I was entertained. I might just have the mental aptitude of a youngster, but the film kept me engaged.

I ordered my ticket online, so all I had to do was show up, hand over a piece of paper and walk in. In the ticket booth, there was a hand-lettered sign, "Pirates is almost sold out." With the "almost" crossed out. Behind me, a guy looks at the sign and then tries to buy a ticket for the show.

Maybe that's what wrong these days.

But the show was enjoyable, at least for me. Despite its lavish expenses, the show has heart.


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Stars and cars
It's really just all about astrology, too.

And cars, as well. I was trying to illustrate a point about the importance of the Pluto and Uranus conjunction, occurred in 1965 and 1966, and it's an element that's prevalent in a large number of charts that I look at. When I try and define this a generational item, too, I tend to get the glazed look. Like a hippie still smoking something that's, questionable? Is that the right word? And wasn't that the advent to the "summer of love," the '65-'66 time-frame?

So as a way to get handle on the generation, especially those born in 1965 and 1966, I tend to point to a certain item, a car. "Think: '65 Mustang," I'll say. Yeah, that was a car. It was actually conceived in 1964, again, with those same astrological elements, Pluto and Uranus, close to each other.


Most of the charts that I've looked at include those two planets, almost right next to each other, usually at 14 or 15 degrees of Virgo. That's a rarity. Getting curious, I popped it into the software, just to see what was there.
1090 Aries
1201 Cancer
1343-4 Aries
1455-6 Leo
1597-8 Aries
1710 Leo
1850-1 Aries
1965-6 Virgo
2104 Taurus

Looks like it's occurred 8 times in the last thousands years or thereabouts. I'm not much on crunching numbers, but it looks like a 140 year cycle, give or take.

Now here's the curious part, to me, the '65-'66 grouping has a couple of points to consider, first off, hitting the Big Four Oh. In addition to the cultural and societal imposition of the number, there's also another astrological element kicking in.

Uranus. Since Uranus is on an 84 year orbit, the halfway point should be 42. However, the charts I've seen (repeatedly) all have Uranus at 14 or 15 degrees, this grouping, this special "summer of love" generation is hitting the first of the Uranus Oppose Uranus in their collective charts.

Consider the parents of those 1965-6 children, now adult children, when the parents were hitting 42, there was an event that was like a wake-up call, and - in broad terms - the parents started to attend church. In earnest. Or seek spiritual enlightenment from wherever. An event transpired and the nature of Uranus can be unsettling. The world shifted, and the parents' world's view changed. That same generation of parents, all with Pluto in Leo, eventually had whatever the answer to the wake-up call was, tested. Years later. Up to 8 years later, there was a Pluto Square Pluto which tested whatever faith had been adopted. Again, this is just broad terms, but it's easy to see a pattern.

The 65 Mustang group is different. First came Pluto Square Pluto, an event that tests one's faith. For most, that was in 2001. Then, just in this last year, 2005, has the first of the wake-up calls been issued, in the form of Uranus oppose Uranus.

In terms of music, culture, or, that favorite car, the 1965-1966 group is getting the first half of a mid-life "transition point" second. It's backwards, for them. 2001 was a test, and now, the second part of the equation is starting to balance out.

Personally, I get excited when I'm doing a reading for a "65 Mustang," someone born in 1965 or 1966. I've got clues, and I've followed a fair sampling of those characters along their respective pathways. It's a highly charged grouping, too, as there's still much to be done.


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Farming and such
I hate cold calls. I hate farming. I hate fishing for dollars.

Homework for this bit: read (or re-read) the Leo scope.

Because I had a later afternoon appointment with the phone, I cut my walk a little short and grabbed a sandwich on the way home. I've written about this one place before, and I'll make note of it in the future, too, as the afternoon musical selections tend to be a little odd, tending towards punk, or classic pop, but with a healthy dose of just about everything in between.

The sandwich guy, Cancer if I recall correctly, was quietly singing to the song playing, a Bob Dylan tune. An older tune, when Dylan's voice was younger. Not any better, just younger.

Don't get me wrong, I own several Dylan compilations. I've got a handful of his tunes on the portable pod. However, in a more musical moment, it's really not so bad to slag his vocals, or, as I've done before, the harmonica playing. I doubt I'm alone here.

Me and that sandwich guy, we had a brief and amusing discussion about Dylan's music. The guy making the sandwich concluded with something along the lines of, "I used to slag Dylan, but I get it now; however, closest I ever came to fight here? I slammed Willie Nelson...."

All I could do was laugh. In Texas? Especially South Austin?

And on a different note:
I was looking for something else and stumbled across this bitabout "alt" (alternative) that really isn't so "alt" anymore.


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Mercury Retrograde is like playing a country and western song backwards?

Earth notes:
I reached up to move a clay wall hanging, a smiling sun, as I was reordering my diminutive patio for a Mercury Retrograde project. There was a wasp nest, actually, both wasps and yellow jackets, underneath the clay item. Which is now shattered after I felt the sting, it flew off in a another direction. So much for cleaning.

I let out a loud whelp, and cursed a blue streak.

One stray followed me inside. He died an inglorious death, bludgeoned to death with a rolled up manuscript; probably, the best use of my printed words for the day.

Shortly thereafter, it was time to walk with a buddy, and after we started out on the trail, I bemoaned my fate, worried that I might go into shock.

"Let's see, happened before I called, right? She asked.


"Took me half an hour to get ready, right?"


"So, if you were going to die, you'd be dead now."

Well, right, but anyway.

Finger swole up a bit from the sting, but I've got a handful of antihistamines to take care of that. Just goes to show something.

Our noon-time walk in Austin included discovery since I didn't go into shock. The discovery was the local outlet for Wahoo's Fish Tacos. Sorry, no video feed.

I have an innate dislike of most chains. Just the way it is. So it's odd to see a place like this, and it's even odder to enjoy the food. The musical background was engaging, in an "eighties" way, the food was serviceable with my friend going on and on about how good the guacamole was.

Problem being, not that it's much of one, that the "blackened" fish in my tacos wasn't really as hot a spice as I like. But good. Carefully tailored kitsch and stickers on the wall, eerily reminiscent of last week's visit to the beach. With a big construction project blocking most ingress from 5th Street, I'm guessing business might be a little slow, but during the noontime rush, it seemed busy enough.


Cherehcez le petite poisson:

Well, it felt like a big fish.
(Just enough for a taco?)


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It's official
[style=floatpicright]image[/style] Or close enough, anyway: Mercury is in apparent retrograde motion.

End of the world? Hardly.

Unrelated July 4th note:
Do it yourself firecrackers.

Or, another way to make make things go boom.

Hush Puppies:
Where are they the best?

Nothing more than fried, dough balls, right?


For a long time, I thought that Cherry Creek (or whatever the name is) deep in South Austin had the best. Then there's another catfish parlor, over just east of the freeway, and can't forget the catfish parlor in - I'm thinking - Waco. Again, which is the best?

These days, I'm leaning towards Snoopy's, across the Inter-coastal waterway, just on the inland side of North Padre Island.

But it's subjective, and more research is indicated.

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Happy July 4th, Mercury RX Style
Officially, and it depends on the method used for determining the planet's relative location, but officially, Mercury isn't retrograde yet.

One of my favorite places for "Texas coastal cuisine" is Water Street (something-something bar/restaurant/sea food emporium/raw oysters/live music/no live bait), originally, only available in Corpus Christi, TX. On Water Street, oddly enough.

Swinging through there, Sunday afternoon, long enough to grab a fabulous cup of coffee at Aqua Java (c.f., twin sisters who are Cancer - the baristas) and then some blackened Gulf Amber Jack at Water Street - it was in the men's room at the restaurant, I discovered the perfect analogy.

On the coast, everything is a little more casual - beach side, beach attitude, beach lifestyle, relaxed and unperturbed. So I go and do my business in the men's room, then step over to wash my hands.


They have one of the fancy automatic water spigots, just pass hands under the faucet and there's water running. And they have the automatic paper towel dispenser, too. Wave your hand in front of the little red eye, and off rolls a clean towel. That's the theory.

Mercury goes backwards 3, maybe 4 times in year. No big deal. It's about communications, electronic gadgets, and so on.

That paper towel dispenser was stuck in a loop. Looked like some one hit the machine with malice. Not much forethought, since it's only a stupid machine with a light-sensing dot, and even that doesn't always work too well.

To my untrained eye, I'd hazard guess that some guy punched the side of the machine. It was slightly cocked from an original, upright position, and there was a paper towel hanging from the machine, sort of like a dog's tongue, lolling out.

I waved my clean and wet hand in front of the machine, and the machine burped, the eye flashed on and off, and nothing happened. I grabbed the extant hanging paper towel, and dried my hands. After I stepped away from the machine, another sheet of paper towel burped out.

Being of an empirical mind, and aware that I was still fishing for a perfect Mercury Retrograde analogy, I waved a hand in front of the red-dot eye again. Nothing. I stepped away from the machine. Another towel dribbled out.

I waved my hand a third time, in front of the red eye. Nothing. I paused. Nothing, I stepped away, a second sheet poured out to match the one I'd already coaxed out, previously.

Some folks will think that I was just playing with the machine, which, in and of itself, isn't very challenging until the wackiness factor is included. That, alone, doesn't make it appealing, or interesting for a long period of time. But the short stretch I was in the bathroom, that was enough to amuse me.

The machine worked, as intended, but at the inception of the Mercury trial and tribulations, the machine worked, as intended, but backwards. Or it sort of worked, just not the way it was intended, except, it dod work, only not quite in synch with the user's demands.

In this next month, Mercury will start backing up and he's currently an evening star, barely visible right at sunset, but becomes an morning star over the next few weeks. Then Saturn, too. Plus Venus is in the mix, as well, clearly visible in the morning these days.

Impact and implications?


Mercury starts its errant path in Leo, but backs down into Cancer before too long, and we're going from a point where the idea has to do with passionate (Leo) energy dealing with a focal point in the emotional heart of the (Cancer) of the problem.

There's number of problem associated with Mercury in its apparent errant pattern. But I kept thinking about that machine on the wall, the towel dispenser that was crooked. It worked, and when Mercury is retrograde, life goes on, like that paper towel machine.

It sort of works. It works according to a cock-eyed internal logic that might - or might not - make any sense.

The malfunctioning, in the truest sense of the word, paper towel machine in the toilet at the restaurant alongside the bay, on the Gulf Coast, that was perfect example of what will - and won't - go wrong in the next few weeks. It's not drastic, just inconvenient. Or amusing, if you're like me, and the little things can keep me entertained.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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No way, dude.

Dinner, one evening. Surfer dude. I mean, in Port A, the surf capital of, well, surf capital of Texas, anyway.

"Dude. Like, we took a poll, me and the staff, and we voted that you most looked like Ted Nugent."

"Never heard that before," I said.

""No, dude, I mean, really."


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& portents?


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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"I find my zenith doth depend upon/A most auspicious star."
Shakespeare's The Tempest (I.ii.213-4)

Cherche le poisson:

Just a parting shot from home.

Tide tables...

Just in time for Gulf Coast fishing.

And no internet, how cool is that?

Go to The Gaff (musical note.)

Tide tables...

Just in time for Gulf Coast fishing.

And no internet, how cool is that?

Go to The Gaff (musical note.)

Couple of days off at the coast. It's a local escape.

Copyright 2006 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. [url=www.astrofish.net/fineprint.html]All rights reserved.[/url] This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Copyright 2006 by Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net. [url=www.astrofish.net/fineprint.html]All rights reserved.[/url] This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent from the author.

Missed memo
KISS coffee house?

Unrelated xmas note:
Three Wise Men, or the the Magi - who were astrologers, from the ancient Greek.


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Thursday's third
One's missing?

Bizarre connection:
Judd Nelson, Anna Nicole Smith and Jon Stewart?

November 28 Sagittarius. That's just weird.

What you look like to me.

What it means.

iPod Battery Packs
Proof of concept and so forth.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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[style=floatpicright>image[/style> Perhaps it's time I've spent in various locations, principally, like South Texas, and other parts, too. But I was observing, a certain sense of style, not present in other parts of the country, or for that matter, in other countries. Where else can a young female wear Daisy Dukes, with cowboy boots? Even one had a trophy buckle, too, the size of a license plate. Again, this not only didn't seem out of place, it all blended right in.

Boots and jeans, T-shirts that proclaim, "Let's get naked!" (stretched over a beer gut is an amusing visual.) Then there's the plaid question, too,

I'm thinking this a genetic item, although, as far as I know, science has yet to identify the plaid gene on the DNA helix. But I'm sure it's there, and I'm pretty sure it's a white thing. Or anglo, or whatever us pasty-white fellers are called these days.

I've owned several sets of plaid shorts. Think there's still one pair crumpled up in the closet. Might stay there, too. I did evoke sheer dismay from a friend's niece, as she shrieked when she saw my plaid shorts and loud Hawaiian shirt.

"You let him out dressed like that?"

Well, yeah, I dressed myself. It's not easy to find items that clash so well.

So I was looking at the kids in the mall. White kids wear plaid shorts. Males, usually, although, it might not be exclusive. Any other ethnic variation? Solids, usually. More tasteful, too.

There is a regional sense of style, perchance a bit outlandish, perhaps a little larger than live, but that's the way it goes.


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"That every event is the right one. Look closely and you'll see.
"Not just the right one over all but right. As if someone had weighed it out with scales. Keep looking closely like that, and embody it in your actions: goodness - what defines a good person.
"Keep to in in everything you do."
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (book IV #10)

"One man's loss is another man's gain,
The tide goes in and the tide comes out, and things stay the same."
(via Bondi Beach Fatboy Slim)

In a world increasing defined by cookie-cutter styles, I tend to stray into areas that aren't quite the same. And that's the point.


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Scottish Play
[style=floatpicright>shakespeares globe[/style> That Scottish Play - yeah, that play. The haunted one.

Rain Date:


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Sat nite
Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots

And familiar line, just a lyric from a song, but a familiar feeling, "Lone Star, on my cereal is keeping me alive...."

Planet names and more, much more
But first, from whence a name is derived?

A nice reference - all in one place.

Hot Weather:
Good thing I prefer a hot climate. Funny thing, too, I'm on a Mac, right, so I clicked on the Mac ad in the article. My Mac's browser bombed. Means something, I'm sure. I'm inclined to blame global warming.

Move along, nothing to see here.

Not falling for it?
Of tangental concern, since this is set here in Austin, but after reading the brief story synopsis, I started analyzing the layout. 500 words, and the story really only occupies one-quarter of the available screen real estate. The rest is advertising.

Fundamental problems:
No, it's not the news item itself, that cool enough, with its implications and all, but the use of certain terminology, that's just wrong, on so many levels.

We're from the government, and we're here to help:
Knock on the door, couple of evenings ago, middle-aged woman, looked a little "Austin-y" with Birks & Beads, probably a hemp shirt or something.

"I'm from the census, and I was wondering about your neighbors, does anyone live in that trailer next to you?"

I went through the song and dance. From CA, it's vacation house, see them - maybe - three times in a year. Ain't no one home. Me? I filled out the census form, mailed it back, and called it all good.

Yesterday morning, I was tapping away. Cat was napping. Knock on the door. College-age-looking kid. Striped shirt, pukka shell necklace, flops, and the clipboard, "Hi, I'm from the census, about your neighbors, does anyone live there?"

Same song and dance. Twice. Guess they didn't believe me the first time.

Hint: your tax dollars at work.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Test copy:
I was digging around in my pocket to pay for an afternoon libation, a simple shot of espresso, a double, really, poured over a cup full of crushed ice. Price at Jo's? An even $2. That's Two Whole Dollars. Since I'm an obnoxious patron, always asking birthdays and such, I tend to put a dollar in the tip jar since, there are really a number of factors here, but I've found that it helps. Besides, I'm doing my bit cover the cost of rude and unruly patrons. I think of it as coffee karma.

So that's a total of $3, for a drink that I'll savor for the rest of the afternoon. It's not a double half-caf mocha frappe chino latte, over easy with with a side a fries, either. It's a simple drink, although I tend to like the long-draw on the espresso, when I can get it. Really good espresso tends to look just like miniature version of a small Guinness. Still, it's three bucks, total. It's not like I have an extravagant lifestyle, so $3 isn't that much. But it's more than a monthly subscription here.

So folks who don't want to pay? And grumble about horoscopes that cost money? You cheap illegitimate reprobates. You wouldn't even buy me a cheap cup of coffee? Ever consider the amount of work that goes into writing those scopes? The time, energy, I had to walk, six miles, in the snow, uphill.

And now, here you are, denying me even the most basic common courtesy of buying me an afternoon cup of coffee, after I labored, all morning, on a horoscope for you.

Notes and Books
Should be a Thursday Special, but whatever.

The Colditz Legacy:
It's a short to medium novel, in length, and apparently, not yet available from a US publisher. But I'm sure it will be, soon. The Colditz Legacy by Guy Walters is slightly different in that there are really two halves to the story. The first part of the book is about an escape from Colditz, the legendary castle. Set in 1940-1, the first half felt like a revisit to history and a bit of adventure fiction thrown in for good measure, done in typical British fashion. God Save the queen, and all that.

Not to spoil the plot, but at least one plucky British officer escapes. Jump ahead a little more than 30 years, to the Cold War, and about the last third of the novel builds with tightly plotted action that reads much like an old, Cold War thriller. Spies, spooks and such. The bad guys are bad, the good guys are Brits, and there's a good twist at the end.

There's character, development, back-story, thriller, espionage, brutal East German torture techniques, and a glimpse at the way it was.

Read it one day, too. Not that long.

Garage Band:
(By Apple.) So the software is making other folks wonder about music? I've garnered many comments, some rather nice, about the background music I use in the weekly audio and video 'casts. The secret is laying down tracks when I hear something I want to emulate. I can poke and paste together a couple of samples until I get something that I might - or might not - use at a later date. Handy stuff to have around. When I sit down to record a message, I've got a stockpile of material from which to draw.

Modern Manners?
When to take the call or stop the iPod?

The Fat Guy:
TFG (Scott's his real name) is one of those originals, can't be duplicated, and offers much wit and wisdom at times. Other times? He's just bloody brilliant.

But, so far, the only tattoo I've considered is a - some surprise - a musical allusion, name that song, "On the muscle of my arm, there's a red and blue tattoo, says..."

N.B.:Buy the guy a Shiner.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Looking for something else:
Turned up the lyrics to a favorite Lyle Lovett tune:
Artist/Band: Lovett Lyle
Lyrics for Song: Here I Am
Lyrics for Album: Lyle Lovett and His Large Band

I'm the guy who sits next to you
And reads the newspaper over your shoulder
Don't turn the page
I'm not finished
Life is so uncertain

Here I am
Yes it's me
Take my hand
And you'll see
Here I am
Yes it's true
All I want
Girl is you

Given that true intellectual and emotional compatability
Are at the very least difficult
If not impossible to come by
We could always opt for the more temporal gratification
Of sheer physical attraction
That wouldn't make you a shallow person
Would it

Here I am
Yes it's me
Take my hand
And you'll see
Here I am
Yes it's true
All I want
Girl is you

If Ford is to Chevrolet
What Dodge is to Chrysler
What Corn Flakes are to Post Toasties
What the clear blue sky is to the deep blue sea
What Hank Williams is to Neil Armstrong
Can you doubt we were made for each other

Here I am
Yes it's me
Take my hand
And you'll see
Here I am
Yes it's true
All I want
Girl is you

I understand too little too late
I realize there are things you say and do
You can never take back
But what would you be if you didn't even try
You have to try
So after a lot of thought
I'd like to reconsider
If it's not too late
Make it a cheeseburger

Here I am
Yes it's me
Take my hand
And you'll see
Here I am
Yes it's true
All I want
Girl is you

Slang & colloquialisms
The daylight-challenged master of the not-so-good forces of the nether world is involved in a domestic dispute with his or her significant other.

The devil's beating his wife.

Or, for me, it was shades and a shirt to shelter me from the rain drops that kept falling. Weird weather. Light rain, sun, heavy rain, downpour, sun, clouds, can't make up its mind. Whatever. A little walk did me good.

And although she's Sagittarius and of British extraction, at least she was clear on the concept, a double espresso poured over a cup full of ice.

Tickled pink:
I clicked through and all I read was "writing prose makes me sweaty..."

Not writing prose makes me sweaty and smelly, if you must know.

Hot Day-um:
[style=floatpicright>shakespeares globe[/style>A little shakespeare in the park action, down in SA. Looks like the road beckons unto me. Purely in the guise of academic research. Can't ever go wrong with that Scottish Play.

Cherche les poissons:
Where to fish. No boat required.

"There be dragons."

Sorry about the loss:
But I still really like the way this communicate.

The lists:
It was linked from several places, and I clicked through more than once to read portions of this article and it's related piece about who's hot and who's not.

In the list of the ten that don't matter (anymore), it includes Slashdot (news for nerds). So Slash begat a number a of portal sites that were eerily familiar in look & feel. So sites were really built onthe slashdot engine, if I recall correctly. And I might not, but it doesn't matter. There's a link in the recent scopes to an article with some critical thinking, an essay on the digital tides, too. Then, because the Blog Maverick was mentioned, there's that, too.

Perhaps it was the Mark Cuban piece about media that got me thinking, old school versus new school. Or mainstream media versus the online world. But the conclusion I was reaching for, has something like Slashdot become more mainstream?

Barrel rolls:
(not to be confused with cinnamon rolls) The conclusion is brilliant.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Two Meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> But first a cartoon moment and the note that my own cat concurs.

Opiates for the masses:
Turns out that the addictive cycles start with learning, huh.

"A little learning is a dangerous thing." (A. Pope)

The oldest portrait?
Quick link about those crazy French caves.

Oh Canada:
Another one I'll - could be me - take a miss on.


24 mutable:
That's this week's weirdness place, 24 mutable.

Straight up astrology talk: Pluto is at 24 Sagittarius, point marked by 24 mutable. So when it's Gemini, Pisces, Sagittarius, or even Virgo, the place where it all happens is right around the 24 degree mark.

I was thinking about this because there's been a flurry of activity since I landed. The crisis, and there have been several, all occurs around 24 mutable. Mutable signs, already listed for your convenience,

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Odd bits remembered
The purpose of the last trip, in part was a celebration of my parental units' anniversary. Duly noted.

When Ma Wetzel, Scorpio, was asked about the secret of a long relationship, she replied, and I quote, verbatim, "He used to travel a lot, and I never bought a gun."

Brings a different meaning to feminine protection. Think I'll use that in a horoscope.

Musical notes, part 1:
Bondi Beach (Fatboy Slim)

Hold Your Colours (Pendulum)

Amber (Autechre)

LP5 (Autechre)

Judgement Night (soundtrack - various)

Fish on:

WSJ on Craig's List:
(Craig is a Sagittarius) - Interesting bit on who's making money, and why I spend as little time as possible worrying about the bottom line.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Home again.
It's not like the place has missed me, although, I've missed it.

The cat has been caterwauling. A few plants didn't make the natural selection cut, and otherwise, life continues on. Noticed that an old idea has been resurrected:

The Worm Bar (like the salad bar, only full of useful stuff like bait)

Nacho Libre:
Or whatever the title is, I can't be bothered to check. It was a funny movie, to me, at least, and I have somewhat lighthearted way of seeing this one. Plus, might be the jet lag, might be the overdose of a certain type of cuisine - just to make myself feel more like I'm home.

Or, it could always be the fine dining experience at the Alamo Drafthouse. There was a special menu for the Jack Black movie, and I was guessing it should've included some kind of stoner food, such is the reputation. However, the first item on the Nacho Libre menu was roasted corn, which, in the movie, all just gets funnier and funnier.

In my mind, despite a few cognitive details, like a small reality check, it was a fun afternoon romp, and the exposure to the Mexican culture, yeah, seemed authentic.

Which, I might add, is why I live like a monk. Just like Jack Black's character. Only, I do.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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"Ceci n'est pas une pipe."
Oh yeah, find that tattoo and quote.

"I was once a fortunate man but at some point fortune abandoned me.

But true good fortune is what you make for yourself. Good fortune: good character, good intentions, and good actions."

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (book V #37)

Big D:
The in-flight entertainment? It included some PR [b>crap[/b>, at the tail of the endless loop of movies, with the tagged, branded line, "Dallas: where culture and cowboy coexist."

That's so wrong on so many different levels.

Kinky Friedman wrote it first, or I read his version first, "Doesn't matter if you destination is heaven or hell, if you're flying in Texas, you'll connect through Dallas."

Rare words, indeed.

At the DFW airport, hustle through immigration, hustle through customs, then re-check the suitcases bound for Austin, then go back through security. I was rushed, and, as usual, rather happy to hear a decent accent. The security guard said something, and I asked him to repeat it, the soft lilt of a NE Texas twang, like music unto mine ears.

"Step over hear, please."

I got a secondary screening, wherein I stepped into a booth and got a burst of air. Then it analyzed me. Or something. I was just glad to be back.

The most dangerous substances I handle, the most noxious agents I touch, that would be words in my head, and I kept those to myself.

The images from this trip start and end here. It's a long tale.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Coriolanus (and so on)
[style=floatpicleft>shakespeares globe[/style> I wonder if this is getting to be a theme, last night in town, hit one more live performance?

Jonathan Cake (?), about whom I know nothing, stars as Coriolanus. Tough role, great job. Perhaps not the best, but o damn fine performance. Seen him twice., Second time was better, and not just for better seats.

It was all about being prepared. There's also some of those serious lines that have a comical punch, perhaps a visual clue - like an actor makes a face at the opponent, or a gesture. At one point, Coriolanus does the Elizabethan equivalent of flipping the plebeians off.

There was something the second time, too, the fat guy in front, crowding space, the guy behind, belching loudly, the smell of stale wine, a fairly authentic Elizabethan Theatre experience. Which, in part, was what it was all about. I'd "borrowed" Pa Wetzel's copy of the play, and I was intent upon reading it, but between everything else, I never got a chance. There are some choice bits that I've plucked to use, and the second viewing of a performance by such an energetic cast was good.

To be sure, the play can easily be spun in two, rather divergent, manners, either it's all good for the state, or absolute tyrants usually get it in the end.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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No repeats Thursday
Winston Churchill (in his own words).


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Anything forgotten
Past remembered.

And the pie cab. Can't forget that one.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Canterbury travels
Just back and forth.

[style=floatpicright>shakespeares globe[/style>I think it was in Canterbury, at a fudge store, I was just trying to get a little bait to take back home, and the guy behind the counter made a comments that I countered with some well-worn (Scorpio) wisdom from Oklahoma, "There's two theories about arguing with women - neither one works."

To which, he replied, "And they both end in pain for me." He gave a little shrug. Guess you had to be there.

The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Tourist time
Just the pictures.

shakespeares globe

The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Coriolanus and then some

(art of noise)

Peter Ackroyd's Shakespeare: The Biography:

"The mutinous citizens of Coriolanus, 'in hunger for Bread' (21), were not some historical fantasy." (page 16)

Yeah, happened in the author's lifetime.

"The baiting of Jesus reappears in Julius Caesar and Coriolanus." (page 51)

Yeah, and with my sister around? There's always the baiting of the brother.

"The public context of Coriolanus is rapidly succeeded by private communings; (page 279)

"It is a nasty story of rivalries between local people and the avaricious lord. It has its counterparts in other country towns where the problem of enclosures had arisen, but in this case it implicated people well-known to Shakespeare. It is not stretching credulity too far to see something of this local drama in the plot of Coriolanus, whereby the tribunes of the people are matched against a haughty and domineering patrician." (page 394)

"It is sometimes supposed that Menenius in Coriolanus is the voice of good sense or worldly wisdom; but if here were played by Armin, as has been suggested, he would have become a grotesque." (page 382)" N.B.: Armin was a later addition to Shakespeare's company, The King's Men. He was noted for comic and singing roles, and it's been suggested, by the same author, that Feste in 12th Night was written just for Armin.

"But Coriolanus also calls for trumpets, a Globe specialty, and some of the play's staging would suggest the larger arena of the public playhouse. So he composed it with both stages in mind. There were other Roman plays on the period, Sejanus and Catiline among them, but no one had previously treated the the theme of Coriolanus, the Roman nobleman who refused to co-operate with the plebeians, and was exiled from the city only to return with an enemy army." (page 468)

"There is a spareness in the language that is reminiscent of Julius Caesar, another Roman play in which a mighty figure is raised and pulled down." (page 468)

"(Shakespeare's Coriolanus) He exists; he sings his high chant; and then he is ended." (page 468)

"In Coriolanus the crowd is portrayed as fickle and ever changing, as light and variable as the wind." (pages 268-9)

"One of the most powerful figures in Coriolanus is the mother of the eponymous hero, Volumia, who has sometimes been considered to be a portrait of Shakespeare's own mother." (page 471)

"So the position of Coriolanus, reviled by the mass and exiled from Rome only to vow a terrible vengeance, is infinitely dramatic and elicits from Shakespeare some of his finest poetry." (page 470)

Well, that's two plays about some guy who comes back to Rome with an enemy army to overthrow the status quo, and while I'm on about that, that's three dramatic events about revenge, "A dish best served cold" (according to the opera).

Coriolanus is was good enough that I almost cried at the end, I mean, I felt sorry for the guy. Not quite enough to cry. But close. I mean, he did get what he deserved, but still. Perhaps it's just the catharsis that theatre is all about.

shakespeares globe

The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Capricorn Music
Special shout out to that Capricorn guy. Ten minutes before closing. Bonus round should include who was on that record label?

Personally, I'd have told someone like me to bugger off, but he was, a Capricorn of a certain age. Bloody nice lads, they are.

I asked about music. He asked thoughtful, probing questions. Loaded me up with CD's, and left me at the listening station. Then kept bringing more.

But it was ten minutes before closing. Apparently, what I was asking for, Brighton Big Beat, Techno, Remix, and whatever it was, he did bring one Electronica album, and he was going on about it, "It's 15 years old, but plays as good as anything now out."

Had to get it.

Matter of fact, walked out with a stack of records, all based upon one Capricorn's suggestions. Ten minute to closing, too.

I asked his birthday, did the math, figured he was a straight-arrow, and a cool guy, and then he asked what I did, who I was, as he'd seen me on the web someplace.

"Kramer? Cainer, yeah, I thought you were Cainer."

I'll take that.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Unclear on the concept
Being from Texas, where it's hot most of the time, South, or Central Texas, anyway, where, or it looks to me, that 23 degrees, why I might still need a sweater (I think that's 73 in my terms).

I've developed a fondness for Nero's Cafe - Italian Coffee Company, as it's a lot like any number of places, but the main ingredient in all the important drinks is coffee. More precisely, a well-poured shot of espresso and the house shot is a double. Me? That works just fine.

I asked if they did iced espresso, a warm and sultry afternoon in London.

"Ice? In the espresso? Okay, one or two?"

The guy making the coffee offered to put two small cubes of ice in the shot of espresso.

Crushed ice. A whole cup full. Pour the espresso over it. Really, there's a language problem - if they only would speak proper English.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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London Calling

(The Clash)

Collected notes on Shakespeare's Titus:

The Anthony Hopkins movie version, Titus

Peter Ackroyd's Shakespeare: The Biography

"The argument still continues whether the plot of Titus Andronicus is derived from a ballad." (page 154)

So it was - maybe - based on some old ditty.

"Shakespeare is widely credited for haven taken over the first act of Titus Andronicus from Peele and completing the play, while elaborating upon the older writer's sensationalistic effects." (page 142)

"Yet the wood has always been a token of wilderness and resistance. In As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream, in Cymberline and Titus Andronicus, it becomes a symbol of folklore and ancient memory." (page 7)

"In one os his earliest plays, Titus Andronicus, one of the characters brings a copy of the Metamorphoses on stage. It is one of the few literary 'props' in English drama, but it is a highly appropriate one." (page 60)

And off to Bloom:
Bloom's Shakespeare: the Invention of the Human.

But first?

"The young Shakespeare, emerging from the composition of Richard III, perhaps rebelled against Marlowe, and as a kind of shock therapy for himself and his public. Something about Titus Andronicus is archaic, in an unpleasant way." (page 77)

"The young Shakespeare delighted himself, and his contemporary audience, by both mocking and exploiting Marlowe in Titus Andronicus." (page 78)

"Though I am fascinated by Titus Andronicus, I do see it as an exploitative parody, with the inner purpose of destroying the ghost of Christopher Marlowe." (page 78)

"The Elizabethan audience was at least as bloodthirsty as the groundlings who throng our cinemas and gawk at our television sets, so the play was wildly popular, and it did well for Shakespeare, a success he may have accepted with considerable inner irony." (page 78)

"Before three hundred lines of Act I, Scene I have gone by, Titus thus has to be regarded as a bizarre monster, a parody of Marlowe's Tamburlaine." (page 79).

"To call Titus Andronicus a mere send-up of Marlowe and Kyd hardly seems suffcient; it is a blowup, an explosion of rancid irony carried well past the limits of parody." (page 83)

"Summarizing all this is like telling the plot of soap opera, but the action of Titus Andronicus essentially is a horror opera, Stephen King turned loose among the Romans and the Goths." (page 84)

"Though there is a nasty power evident throughout the text, I can concede no intrinsic value to Titus Andronicus. It matters only because Shakespeare, alas, undoubtedly wrote it, and by doing so largely purged Marlowe and Kyd from his imagination." (page 86)

It's a good play. Very well done. At Shakespeare's Globe.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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A night at the opera?
Which, given my family's dynamics, could be like a Marx Brothers' movie.

But first?

Shopping notes:
Doesn't matter for whom, now does it? Carrying a brightly wrapped parcel just suggests that I have surrendered all vestiges of any 'alpha male' genes. I'll make my sister carry her own damn packages next time. Such a little princess.

The weather is beautiful, a tad cool, but according to local conditions, "bloody hot." Could've fooled me. Hot is over 40, not over 23. Wimps.

Had some "mushy peas," and at first, I thought it was an exotic local variation, such an exciting texture and color. Alas, just squashed green beans, I think.

High Tea rocks. It's that simple. Start at 3 in the afternoon, get done after 6? Three hours of finger sandwiches, biscuits, ice cream and cake. Plus gallons of tea.

But my family lied to me, "You have to wear a jacket to high tea." No, no you don't have to wear a jacket. It's summer time, in England. It's a tad bit more relaxed.

Amusing sign, to me? Edgeware Road. Like Edge City Productions, or Software, hardware and Edgeware?

Anyway, the best sign was at a Pret (chain food), "Sorry: dine-in meals have VAT added. Nightmare." I just ordered mine to "take away," and ate it there, anyway. I am scrupulous with American taxes, but British VAT? What-evah.

The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

A Night at the opera:
Which was some place out in the country. Gasoline (petrol) was 99p at the allo-night truck stop. That's 99p per liter. And, the last exchange rate I saw for dollars was $2.05.... So the math works this way: 99p for a liter which is roughly 4 pounds for a gallon which is roughly 8 buck a gallon.

No wonder I like the trains. And there's the same sentiment, different flag, but same idea, Go Spurs Go, only it much more patriotic, the cross of St. George and the simple message: [b>ENGLAND![/b>
The opera was the good stuff, all right, well-acted, well-sung, heck of a set lungs on that one girl. Anyway, helping dear own Pa Wetzel into the elevator after the half-time?

He had on a Texas cummerbund and matching bow-tie. A elderly lady with an English accent starts trying to pick him up, with me, right there at his side. We got off the elevator, and she went back to another floor of the opera house. Pa Wetzel elaborated, "It's the second cane. Once I started using a two canes, works like a champ."

Yeah, or his walker. I've already seen that work.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Abbey Road & fishing
Farlow's. Legendary purveyor of tackle. Yeah, so I went and poked around, but I wasn't much impressed with fishing rods carrying a price tag of four-hundred pounds.


And Abbey Road. The album cover? Think about it. There I am.

The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit)

Sure, the yoke-cut, (faux) pearl snap shirt was tied around my waist, but I've made no effort to act like a local. Still, I get asked for directions. As if.

(Why my sister would be suspicious of a Bass Pro bag?)

To be in England:
Coming up from a tube stop, in the evening's twilight, a very young couple was backed into a brick corner, one of the streets, doing the deep mind probe, complete with tongue-tonsil tickling, and there ever so faint, pelvic grind. The guy stops for a fraction of a second. Girl reaches up and bops him on the head with a rolled up magazine. Young love.


The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Extra random imagery
Picked up along the way, and somehow, I found it altogether too fitting that the price of a Two-Meat plate in DFW (airport) was more than the price of my book.

New Record:
Less than four hours. I was crossing under the street, Westminister Station, meandering towards the Globe and so forth, and some lady asks me if I know where I am. I'm wearing sandals, a hawaiian shirt, shorts. Nope, I'm kind of a tourist here.

Then there was the singing station master and a debate about Roy Orbison, who is from Wink, TX. Been there. Been to the museum there. Even seen the Wink Sink.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Road tripping
"But the miracle of late sixteenth-century London lay in the fact that it was renewing itself. Its vigor and energy came from a fresh access of youthfulness. It has been estimated that half the urban population was under the age of twenty years. This is what rendered it so strident, so tough, so excitable. Never again would it be so young." (page 111)
Peter Ackroyd's Shakespeare: The Biography

Something to be said about London always feeling young.

"Kramer? That's called 'jet lag,' buddy-boy."

And I thought it had something to do with the old Battersea station, featured on Pink Floyd's Animals album. Perhaps a seminal influence. Or maybe not.

"The sun comes up in a coffee cup, no thanks I've had enough." It's Lyle song, can't get to the reference material right now.

The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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From one carrier to another
Just in from the airport, and off from one regional carrier to a longer-distance machine. Austin-Dallas-UK. Yee-haw.

Fast food trip:
El Paso was a "fast food" trip. Friday? Lunch was branded fast drive-through food. Burger and fries. Saturday night? Burger and fries. Sunday night? Drive through burger and fries. Rather, sit down and eat in the dining area. Still, fast food.

"Straight, not straightened."
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (book VII #12)

Special Forces:
On one of the flights so far, crowded shuffle from point to point, although, I had an empty seat next to me until a youngster of martial demeanor asked if he could sit there. I nodded and I was about to dismiss him until he pulled out an iPod, one of mine was out already with Fat Boy Slim just starting a tune about how "It's a wonderful night."

The guy pulled out a book, I recognized the title and author, and while I couldn't recall all the details, I remembered that I greatly enjoyed it. We talked about that. We talked about his girlfriend's music on his iPod, most of which he didn't like, and then we detoured into his most recent adventures, as a former Special Forces team member. Something military. Highly trained. Something. Pretty interesting. The only words of advice I had was to not to try to out-drink an Australian. My advice was a little late. He had learned, like me, the hard way.

Every now and again, I run into military people who reaffirm my faith in the system. After an hour of his tales, I realized I'd found another.

"Death is something like birth, a natural mystery, elements that split and recombine.
Not an embarrassing thing. Not an offense to reason, or our nature."
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (book IV #5)

And another?
At the event - work for me - a young woman walked by, holding a newborn. I inquired as to the baby's birthday: Gemini, about a week old. The mom, Aries, had a C-section. If that had been a male? Who are we kidding? I'd still in bed, I suggested.

Grace noted how good looking the child was, and then piped in, "If it was man? He'd milk that for a year."

I was amazed, major trauma birth, up and walking around? If that was me? I'd still be laid up some place, complaining, and bragging about all the hard work I'd done for the last 18 months.

"Each of us needs what nature gives us, when nature gives it."
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (book X #20)

The ants go marching:
Stepped outside for a moment, a red-headed Capricorn, Robin the palm reader (Taurus), and myself. Robin glanced at my bare feet and made an observation. Dry wit. He lives in Albuquerque, he's always dry. Then he noticed half of a cookie that a number of sugar ants had gathered around. He leaned over, picked up the broken candy bar, and followed the ants to their hole, and then he set the food source next to their home.

"It's like pizza delivery."

Me? I never liked ants, all that hard work for the good of the hive? On nice afternoon? I'd prefer to be fishing. Or something. Bad symbolism. Hope they enjoyed the delivery service.

Not to rouse pity, not to win sympathy or admiration. Only this: Activity. Stillness.."
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (book IX #12)

The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)


Observation & hot sauce
Grace prepared dinner, the other evening. Her littlest one was asked to escort me to the store, long enough to procure some ingredients for Grace's "pico de gallo."

So I noted some of the recipe, I mean, it was easy, as I had the list for the store, tomatoes, three or four big jalapeno, two white onions, couple of bunches of cilantro, and, might as well get a few avocados....

So the littlest Leo was with me, and she made a concerted effort to open a door in my face, "Oops, did I almost hit you?"

So that was the list, I guess she chopped it all up, Complained about my avocado selection, too, "Kramer, you're supposed to look for the soft ones, not the ones that feel artificial. These are too firm, they don't feel life-like."


The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Road noise
Just when I've seen it all?
Guy in front of me, at the security checkpoint, he's wrangling an oversized carry-on, an over-stuffed laptop case, and making deals on a cell phone while waiting in line. As he unlimbers the laptop, pulling keys and change out of his pocket, he slips a pair of booties over his socks, to pass through security. Either a true road-victim, or maybe, just obnoxious-obsessive-complusive type. Take all kinds. I was barefoot.

Misc. Quotations
(these three are from the King James Version)
"These ye shall eat, of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:"
Deuteronomy 14:9

"and ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free"
John 8:32

"Follow me and I will make you fishers of men."
Matthew 4:19

I have no idea what I was thinking about.

"Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief."
Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost (V.ii.737)

The long and the ugly.

Breakfast tacos:
At the airport? $3.50 each. East Austin? $0.90, and the coffee shop on the way to the bus stop? Halfway point: $1.75. I wasn't going to get one, but the delivery was made while I was standing at the counter. How can I refuse?

Just when I've seen it all?
Guy in front of me, at the security checkpoint, he's wrangling an oversized carry-on, an over-stuffed laptop case, and making deals on a cell phone while waiting in line. As he unlimbers the laptop, pulling keys and change out of his pocket, he slips a pair of booties over his socks, to pass through security. Either a true road-victim, or maybe, just obnoxious-obsessive-complusive type. Take all kinds. I was barefoot.

Myth & History:
Always up for conjecture?


The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

I'm wandering off to the airport this airport this morning.

Paying the rent
The net really isn't free?

Makes me wonder, how much do they know?

And for the paranoid:
Or just better prepared?

And for the shallow-minded (like me):
Bat Woman, switches teams?

Cherchez le poisson:
Or not. Not what I was looking for, but I did catch this one.

And while we're on nature pictures, I thoroughly fail to any resemblance between me and this guy; although, we're both harmless.

The images from this trip start here. It's a long tale.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Close-out sales
(not really, just a good headline)

Inbound mail:
|> Subject:  Re: My new baby
|> Date:  Tue, 30 May 2006 23:23:50 -0500

|> You have a DREAM job

I'd like to think so, and that was such a nice sentiment. I work pretty hard at this.

Of course, the illusion of happiness was shattered by the morning mail. Some of the punters are just being mean these days. I don't take kindly to that. At all.

Travel updates;{/i>
The "not a famous guy" (me) - two days only - El Paso, Texas. See listing for details.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Copyright 2006 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
My stupid software update skills aren't, apparently, as mad as I would like, or in more common terms, I'm mad that the picture parts are broken.

So I'm befuddled with less than enough time to fix anything, as I've got to prepare for two trips, back-to-back. Just in from U-Towns, and a turn around for a short trip to El Paso, and from there, on to the UK. No time for respite. Hidden meanings; Or just hidden messages? Beating dead horses: Sounds like a character-driven plot, brilliant but tragically flawed characters. Cherchez les poissons: The odds aren't always this good. Shopping? Wrong season, but nifty idea. Meaner plants: Well-documented elsewhere, I'm sure, but this is not really surprising. Or is it? The peanut gallery: Images are here. subad Laeti edimus qui nos subigant! astrofish (click to visit) 5/29
Here Be Dragons
I'm not sure of the title's allusion, but a careful cartographer might get the reference. Or not. The images are collected and collated from the last weekend. Of particular note, the one sign, "Liquor. Guns." Has to be a localized phenomena. But there it was, and I had to record it.

On trip like this, I tend to make sure I've got a little fishing pole packed, and while I did see some guys waist-deep in one small stream, I didn't really consider that as a fishing spot for me.

Utopia - Uvalde, the U-towns. In Uvalde, there's a big sporting goods store called "Jack's Outback." It's like a localized cross between a Bass Pro Shop, Sportsman's Warehouse, and Cabela's. The decor indicates that hunting and fishing are big sports in the area, and looking inside the bait cooler revealed one, lone box of worms, some animal vaccines, and several half-drunk beverages for (or from) employees. Da Vinci Code (movie time): Holiday weekend, right? Stranded in a little town in West Texas, right? Hopped in the see the the movie [b>du jour[/b>, and frankly, I rather enjoyed it. Sir Ian? He's such a good bad guy.

The opening shot, when Tom Hank's character is preparing to lecture from his notes, the symbol in his character's notebook? Easy to miss, but it looked like a stylized lower-case h, with a small cross-member. The symbol is Saturn. Chronos. Fate.

Or, in the parlance of the movie, we see it as the old man at New Years', with his scythe. Same item. Same symbol.

Or, it could just be a trick. subad Laeti edimus qui nos subigant! astrofish (click to visit) 5/27
Off line
Perhaps that should be "off-line and out of my mind," huh.

I've got an invite for a few days in a cabin. Looks to be pretty primitive, got some of the basic needs covered, like hot shower and running water, indoor plumbing, but, no WiFi.

Electricity, maybe. Fishing pond? Sure. Books to read? Sure. Upgrade woes: I did a minor tweak to the back-end of the web journal, actually followed the instructions the first time, then the second time, and now the photo upload is broken. Maybe I'll fix it next week. subad Laeti edimus qui nos subigant! astrofish (click to visit) 5/26
Shake it up
Time to roll on the road. Cherchez le poisson:
Drunken dialing is very much not appreciated. And the old game, "Is Dave there?" is [b>certainly not[/b> funny at 2 AM, especially when I've got an "oh-dark-thirty" alarm for fishing. Leaves me rather cranky. (that last one was a rattle trap, from the dock, here) Perchance the most amusing little cove was one with big bass swirling up to chase bait fish around, popping the surface and then backing down to the shoreline again. I caught that one on a topwater, kind of casual.

"The Expert" was fishing a frog, and up from some matted grass, a big girl exploded, taking the bait and hook. He wrestled her out of the weeds, and she gave a mighty head-shake and busted off at the boat.

"Eight pounds, at least," he suggested. Not to indulge in hyperbole, but the size of the mouth, two-fisted? Probably ten pounds.

That old girl bolted up along the shoreline, and we spent the better part of the morning almost fruitlessly tossing bait at the little clear spot.

Finally, it was a weightless lizard. Bass hate lizards. Almost as much as I hate 2 AM phone calls that mean nothing. Or are just plain mean. No comet: The backstory.

Heh. Finis coronat opus. astrofish (click to visit) 5/25
(fine) Dining in Austin:
Buenos Aries Cafe, on the Tex-Mex mile.

I just got in from what turned into an exquisite dining experience. First it was a little running around, then meeting with a wrecking crew, which begs the joke about pouring concrete, but never mind the bad humor now.

"Where do you want to eat?" asked my Pisces friend. We were driving east on Oltorf, headed towards S. First Street. Coffee shop, just past 1st, on the right, but not a meal deal. There's a host of fine Tex-Mex places, scattered up and down S. First, so I suggested one, she hung a right, and then she asked if I'd been to Buenos Aries.

I know plenty of bueno Aries, but that's not what she meant. Next to the pawn shop, there's a new place - new to me - called Buenos Aires Cafe.

Looks like a tiny place, with more than half the seating al fresco, on the small porch facing S. First Street, right next door to the pawn shop. Unassuming looking place, too. But, as one might expect, looks can be deceiving.

The front counter displayed an array of succulent dessert items. Not sure, but I think at least one or two of the items are labor-intensive works of art.

The main server was Sagittarius, not that it matters, but I like to know these things. Simple yet clean and well cut attire. Not that it matters, but it sets a semi-formal tone. I was in my typical summer attire, some surprise there, wrinkled Hawaiian shirt and fishing shorts. I glanced through the menu, skipped to an entree, and then the server started on the special item for the night. I stopped him halfway through, how rude of me, and I said, "I'll take it."

He said something akin to, "Allow me to finish, I had to memorize this thing, you know," with a wry grin. I do know that he said, at some point, "Sagittarius, we're the best aren't we?" (A little self-promotion never hurts - the Pisces didn't exactly concur - can't blame her.)

There was a full complement of coffee beverages and exotic wine and beer from - just a guess - Argentina. I didn't check it out. Didn't bother.

Perfect presentation. Perfect. I can't speak for that sweet Pisces, but the meal I had, the entree was rather on the fabulous side of fabulous. Can I say that? Roast pork loin with the special Argentina-brand of sauce. I couldn't begin to decipher the delicate - and apparently fresh - condiments. On top was a single herb leaf (can't think of the name) - perfectly blanched. Roast pork medallions, two over-sized shrimp, done in thyme, and a potato cake with spinach as the main ingredient. Something cheesy, too.

Another couple walked in, the Sagittarius dramatically swept his hand through the almost empty dining area, "Any place you like...."

That couple was transfixed by the glow from the counter's display of desserts.

"Tonight's creme brulee is mango," he further explained. I didn't get it, but I wasn't about to pass up something, so I had a fruit tort with marscapone*, raspberries, blueberry, topped with a fresh strawberry, and some cheese, on a little circular crust. The crust along was magnificent. Add to it the freshly rendered fruit and layers of cheese, whipped cream? I'll hate myself when I come down, but for now, it's heavenly.

I'm going back. Soon. The regular menu mentioned an item that, to me, translates from Spanish as "chicken fried steak." I can hardly wait. Finis coronat opus. astrofish (click to visit) *mental note, figure out how to spell that.

Big wave
When that comet doesn't crash into the earth, and when the big wave doesn't wipe out the Atlantic coasts, I'm laughing. Probably fishing, too. shopad Judging by the number of queries, I'm figuring that this is one huge load of organic male bovine extract.

But certainly good publicity, and it inserts the author's name in front of lots of people. What did Mr. Barnum say?

I would point out, though, that the panic level has increased the number of phone calls. Cherchez les poissons: First was a little dude, but he had lots of spunk. Second one was that stupid fish who broke my line. Twice. Got her, this time. Looks like she's a virgin, too, never caught before. I accquainted her with the drill, and let her keep the worm, too. Unlimited thought: All about the journey. Dulce periculum. astrofish (click to visit) 5/24
Miscellany image Local news: Dell retail stores? More on the local front: The passing of a legend.

There's a pot joke here, got to be one, but I can't think of it. Turtle news: Certain fishing techniques are bad for turtles. Think about that before ordering seafood. iPod notes: 10 things. What's on your pod? Another political pod. Another stupid clip. (Less said, the better.) Finis coronat opus. More Cowbell! astrofish (click to visit) 5/23
By quarters
Morning math, might be another way. The weekly video spot runs between three and five minutes.

Round average would be four minutes, then. Times fifty-two weeks? That would be over three hours of video footage in a year - longer than a standard-issue movie.

I'll be the first to admit, some weeks are better than others, but I happened to enjoy this one. New material: Nylon Angel seems to be Australian computer-punk. Might be interesting, as it is eerily reminiscent of vintage William Gibson. But that could be me.

I finally finished the Shakespeare biography, notes to follow, and I picked up Bloom, again, to look up the upcoming plays. And therein was the fun stuff, see, from the biography, it's easy to see that Shakespeare's Titus Andonicus was produced almost every season - an early play, but a popular one. Whereas Bloom can find no redeeming qualities for the play, other than the authorship. Amusing.

Since there are scant, like audio/video recordings of those early performances, was it done as a farce? Low comedy? Tragedy? Plagiarism Today and that fine, dark line between theft and fair use. Ticklish subject for me. When I'm quoting, especially an academic source, I tend to make sure that full (and fair) attribution is accounted for. Then again, I co-authored a text, and the other author somehow forgot to include my name on the finished product. Much hilarity did not ensue. It's also why I don't collaborate. and In The News: Astrology and archeology intersect. Well, I doubt they'll call it that, but I would. Same dif. Pictures don't do it justice: Fished some in the afternoon, and the little one felt like it was almost a bass. But a small one. But that second one? Much hilarity did ensue. Bent the rod fully in half, worked his way up and down the shoreline before I swung him up for a photo. As I looked at the picture, I realized he sure acted a lot bigger than he was. Think I've caught that one before. He just glared at me, when he wasn't trying to tail-slap me. Feisty one. image image Forti et fideli nihil difficle. More Cowbell! astrofish (click to visit) 5/22
Last of Shake Notes
All the quotes are from Peter Ackroyd's Shakespeare: The Biography

"He had a professional attitude towards reading, and probably never opened a book without hoping to extract something from it. In any case, Shakespeare always departed from his sources when he deemed it necessary to do so, elaborating them and pushing them further into romance and fantastic improbability." (page 406)

"Contemporary Londoners believed that the plague came from planetary influences, blasting the air with fever." (page 419)

Yeah, think it sounds fanciful? Ask a Capricorn or a Cancer about how Mars is treating them these days. Feh.

"Comedy and tragedy were equal parts of his art." (page 431)

Art reflects life, huh?

"To watch King Lear is to appraoch the recognition that there is indeed no meaning to life and that there are limits to human understanding. So we lay down a heavy burden and are made humble. That is what Shakespearian tragedy accomplishes for us." (page 447)

Why it works.

"Indeed the family is at the centre of Shakespeare's dramaturgy; more than any other contemporary dramatist he is concerned with familial conflict." (page 449)

Not that I'd ever write about my family. Nope.

"There is another aspect of his dramaturgy that generally goes unremarked. In modern drama the accepted context is one of naturalism, which certain playwrights then work up into formality or ritual. In the early seventeenth century the essential context was one of ritual and formality, to which Shakespeare might then add touches of realism or naturalism." (page 449)

More than once, I've read the assertion that Shakespeare was the first of the modern authors.

"The hundreds of minor changes between two versions, compatible with a rewriting at speed by a dramatist absorbed in his work, also reveal the work of a thoroughly dramatic imagination, intent upon wholly theatrical effects. They prove beyond any doubt that Shakespeare was not averse to extensive revision and rewriting his material, when occasion demanded it. His was always a work in progress." (page 450)

"It says something about the effect of the theatre and the permanence of theatrical memory that this doomed love between Antony and Cleopatra, together with the assassination of Julius Caesar, have become the two most famous episodes of Roman history." (page 455)

Finis coronat opus. More Cowbell! astrofish (click to visit)5/22
There's got to be an easier way
Anyway, that was a long weekend.

And speaking of work, the latest video (password required) is here.

There's a certain joy in feeling like I've accomplished something. I'm still lost as to what it was, but the sense is still there. I hope I can sneak off and go fishing soon.
Nice sport commentary. Go Spurs.

Funny thing happened last night, but wait, that's perfect to illustrate a point in a horoscope. Finis coronat opus. More Cowbell! astrofish (click to visit) image5/21
Shakespeare quote (du jour)
"While we do admire
This virtue and this moral discipline,
Let's be no stoics nor stocks, I pray." The Taming of the Shrew (I.i.31-5) The curse of road construction: Sort like, some kind of theme.

Yet again.

Finis coronat opus. More Cowbell! astrofish (click to visit)

Working weekend
Off to work, this fine Saturday morning. Details here.

Sunken Treasure:
I'm thinking fishin.

Finis coronat opus.
More Cowbell!
(click to visit)

Shorthand reading notes
Out of time, have to prepare for work. I dug up what I wrote about the previous book, for a point to consider.

All quotes are from the exhaustive, Shakespeare: The Biography.

"There is a large element of ceremony or ritual about this theatre, in other words, which remained an important part in its staging." (page 355)

Shakespeare, according tot he text, was an actor who wrote for the stage. There's also the important question about Shakespeare's faith, in the religious/political context of the time.

"It is almost commonplace to suggest that Elizabethan drama, emerging to full life after the reformation of religion under the Anglican supremacy of Henry and Elizabeth, served as a substitute for rituals of the old English faith. It fulfilled the audience's appetite for significant action and iconic form." (page 367)

Instead of the Old Faith (Catholic), there's always theatre. Or, in more recent terms, media.

"It has been remarked that, in the same period, the growing of literacy was leading to a great extension of letters and private diaries; writing itself encouraged 'introspection and reflection.' This throws new light on the often noticed allusions to books in Hamlet."(page 297)

While it's about Hamlet, part of the text rings true, to this day. But stick the play in hand, okay?

"It is not too much to say that Hamlet could only have been written by a consummate actor." (page 397)

Part of the point about the whole book, looking at the known history of the plays, the illusive paper trail, and adding up that the author was an actor. Written for the stage and popular culture of his time.

"One image is of Shakespeare as perfectionist, producing more or less the orthodox canon of the plays as printed in 'good' quatros. The other image is of Shakespeare in a continuous state of evolution, moving between early versions and revised versions, short versions and long versions. The latter alternative seems more plausible." (page 399)

Finis coronat opus.
More Cowbell!
(click to visit)

Seriously folks
That must've been some brown acid.

Or something in the coffee. I don't know. Bit of jumble, all the points to consider. Somehow, as I was plugging in a few extraneous links, I got stuck in a weird space, and the next couple of weeks are full of old fashioned music video - crap - in other words. But defining crap, anyway.

"You had enough of the eighties, or what, man? What a fucking decade. Jesus, just get me out of it."
- Sam Kinison, from his "Leader of the Banned."

No idea how this will play out. Then there's the "how to" on ripping video from you tube.

Breaking the code:
All I recall, is I loved the book, and prior to seeing the latest ASF version of Richard III, I thought Sir Ian's performance, on stage and in film, was the defining role model. So this little publicity slug is really tasty. To me, anyway.

Me? I loved the book. But as I noted before, it was fictionalized account of another book I'd read years before, called Holy Blood, Holy Grail. And while that was popularized as journalism, it was, in fact, at least some of it, very made up. Fiction.

I thought Da Vinci Code was better than Holy Blood, and I just figured, from the midpoint in Code, that wrapping the information as fiction, sometimes fiction is more true than truth, and in doing so, the tale was more palatable.

Hot day, here, without any cloud cover to speak of, and it warns that it's probably gong to be a very warm summer. Take wandering adventure, some time. I covered six miles, swam all of about two laps in a purloined pool and went for a quick dip in the creek, as well. Six miles, two water stops and two stops for a short shot of espresso, too.

Fish on:
[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>He's not big, and he did shake the hook out on the dock, but I finally got him by the lip. He saw me, and I saw him, and it was face-to-face fishing. One on one. Yeah, he's fine. There's another, really big mother, and I kept catching a glimpse of her, but she wouldn't strike. Yet. We'll meet again, I'm sure.

Finis coronat opus.
More Cowbell!
(click to visit)

Round numbers
In Shakespeare scholarship, the authorship of Edward the Third is sometimes attributed to Shakespeare. Plus the two missing plays, the mythological Cardenio and the duly noted Love's Labour's Wonne. So that averages out to 40 plays, over all.

The Truth Will Out is the new, highly favored Shakespeare conspiracy book. Reading it back-to-back with Shakespeare: The Biography is helpful. I can't recall the details, but the two together are painting a good, much more complete picture.

I've got a couple of more notes to add, but it'll take a little while to compile it all. Reading notes, really.

Which, really, is what this is, a common place book, or, according to the recent biography, a table book. Just stuff I write down so I can access it later.

Nice bit of fluff:
What's in a domain name's value.

And the graveyards:
Predicting the demise of My Space?

I've heard the buzzwords, listened to the pundits, and I've finally started to realize that there are digital fads, and then there are digital fads.

Funny, I found one link (not linked here) that suggested AOL had a Your Tube killer in beta form, soon to be released. Yawn.


Finis coronat opus.
(click to visit)

More Shakespeare Notes
All quotes are from Peter Ackroyd's Shakespeare: The Biography.

"The aim of the sixteenth-century actor was to impersonate a specific passion or range of passions as they impinged upon an individual temperament; the majority of characters and situations on the Elizabethan stage, for example, are concerned with the tension between reason and passion in human behavior with all its potentially comic or tragic consequences." (page 229)

In a nutshell, so to speak.

"There are three plays of Shakespeare that seem to be without a primary 'source': Love's Labour's Lost, The Tempest, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. All of them are highly patterned, in a manner that seems intrinsic to the English imagination; they are all carefully an symmetrically structured, all touched by mystery or enchantment - two of them have elements of the supernatural - and all include dramatic entertainments." (page 254)

I was tainted by a professor, bless his ivory tower soul, who deemed Love's Labour's Lost as a play to skip. Elsewhere in the text, the author makes two other points about Love's Labour's Lost, how there's a missing companion play, noted in the records, as "Love's Labor's Won (Love's Laboure's Wonne, I think), and how the play is filled with internal references to current political situation, perhaps a bit of satire, or just mere whimsy. But I like the idea that some of the work was wholly generate from the imagination.

"As far as the great tragic heros are concerned, there is a corresponding belief in the ruling power of the self. Their destiny does not lie in the stars, in some abstract notion of Fate or, least of all, in some scheme of divine providence." (page 261)

I've used it often enough, from memory, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." (From Julius Caesar, and I'm not bothering to look it up right now.) Having seen a masterful Richard III, by Austin's own ASF, it was easy to see this idea carried out on stage.


"Shakespeare sees his characters as an actor would, not as a poet." (page 263)

Halfway through the book, and the whole point is now clear.

"He also gave 95 per cent of the lines to the fourteen principal actor in the company; this was partly a matter of seniority, but it was also carefully planned economy of a practical manager." (page 263)

William Shakespeare wasn't just the author, he was also share holder in the theater's business. Practical. But it goes further, too, because Shakespeare was also an actor, and as much as they had directors, that too.

"His amenability to actors is evident elsewhere. It has been remarked by generations of of actors that his lines, once remembered, remain in the memory; they are, to use the word of the great nineteenth-century actor, Edmund Kean, 'stickable.'" (page 265)

"The purpose of Troilus and Cressida is now all but lost in a fog of conflicting critical commentaries. In that play he establishes a code of value, through the speeches of Ulysses, which is then undermined or ignored by all of the characters in the play." (page 268)

Why I liked it the first reading, and several subsequent viewings, as well as protracted study. Two words from me: black comedy.

"Entire plays seem to be made up of parallels and contrasts and echoes. All of his characters have mixed natures. Despite the apparently orchestrated harmony of his endings, there are in fact very few genuine resolutions of the action." (page 269)

Think but one word, a bit of literary taxonomy: modern.

"He could have jotted down notes or passages that occurred to him in the course of the day; other writers have found that walking through the busy streets can materially aid inspiration." (page 274)

While it's an analysis of the way Shakespeare worked, or might've worked, I can add that it works for me.

"It could in fact be argued that his texts were always in a fluid state, waiting for the actors to lend emphasis and meaning." (page 275)

One of the points of the book, or what I'm getting, is that the plays as we know them, were refined, revived, and possibly edited on stage, more a collaboration rather than a single point of creation.

"All evidence suggests that some of his more accomplished dramas, such as The Taming of the Shrew and King John, are rewritten versions of his earlier originals." (page 277)

Constant state of rewrite and updates.

"It was Shakespeare's practice to combine elements from what would seem irreconcilable sources, and thereby create new forms of harmony." (289)

I'm thinking of a musical interlude, something about "Into the new," but I can't name that (Austin) band at the moment.

"it has been calculated, however, that 80 per cent of Shakespearian scenes written for the Globe needed no props at all (footnote)." (page 356)

The footnote is reference for a source of the data and calculation, but the point being, this guy was working as a partner, with an eye on the bottom line. Fill the space with the words, the actors did the inflection, and the story carried the action. But an eye on that bottom line, still.

"It has often been supposed that Shakespeare borrowed his comic plots from Italian drama, but in the crossing they have suffered a sea change. It is characteristic of the English imagination, of which he is the greatest exemplar, to incorporate and to alter foreign models." (page 320)

A favorite academic game is to guess the source material. With, I think about 30 plays a year going up, there was a lot of work involved trying to keep good scripts around. The Complete Works of Shakespeare, at, what, 37 plays now? It's the final product after years of touring and working audiences, fine tuning a script.

This biography, so far, has painted picture, drawing on what appears to be solid academic research, of the poet as a player. From extant records of what was performed, the picture is easily discernible. But then, I have taste for this stuff, and I enjoy it mightily.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

[style=floatpicright>image[/style> It's all about astrology, and basketball.

Teach me astrology:
I can't.

See, it all depends.

[style=floatpicleft>[/style>I was thinking about this, since I've been bugged for an astrology primer, only, it's not that easy. There are plenty of cookbooks that deal with everything from the sheer mechanical point of "this planet is in this sign and that means this," to some pretty arcane stuff that deals only with the tiniest fraction of a specific point, major work about minor points.

I've started just such a primer, or cook book, as they're called in the trade, a number of times. But therein is the problem. Let's take two Gemini charts. Both are charts I rather familiar with. So one is an "Aries Gemini." Not a drop of any Aries in the chart, but, by house, the chart has a First House (Aries House) Sun. Plus a couple of other points. Even though it's a Gemini's chart, I tend to treat it as an Aries chart, perfect fit.

So house placement is really what important, no?

With that chart, yes. But...

Another Gemini, same vintage, actually, has a Leo Moon. Treat like a Leo, and all is well. I pop out the usual Leo pandering and that chart lights up. So Moon sign is important. In that chart? Yes.

So is it house, or moon? All depends. And so far, I haven't found a computer that can weigh individual charts like that.

Trigger points? Key elements? Houses? Lions, tigers and bare?


Go Spurs Go:
There's a picture, I fear I will never quite capture, but I've seen it often enough, around San Antonio, a Texas Flag, and underneath it, on the same pole, flapping merrily in the wind, the black flag with white capitals, and the legend, "GO SPURS GO."

Turns out a buddy of mine is a huge basketball fan. He waxed eloquent, over some enchiladas and a taco plate, while describing how basketball was the perfect combination, like ballet, jazz, and athletic ability, all combined. His musical referent of improvisational jazz was poignant. Well-timed, too.

Now, I read Cuban's blog from time to time, more concerned with media matters rather than athletics. About the Mavericks, I could care less. But I've found some of his points to be right on the mark. Or even his definitions, although, I wonder what drives him.

I could tie in a Shakespeare reference, but I'm not, because I was just covering material about the act of creation, the spark when the pen hits the paper. But I'm not. However, a little side note? The term "maverick" is originally from San Antonio, not a Dallas native term at all.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Never outsourced.
Living in Dell's backyard, the whims and vicissitudes of the enigmatic leader are well-known. As are the hiring and firing waves. And the rumors of outsourcing.

I've been copied several times, not in such manner as I could invoke a trademark or franchise case against the corporate entity, but pay attention. How much of what you read is signed by a particular author? Taking it one step further, how much of what is signed by that (purported) author is really authored by that author?

What should be obvious, here? I'm not outsourcing anything. No "trained and approved assistants" answer calls around here. The reality is you're not pawned off on someone else's work. All original.

Occasionally imitated, never equaled.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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It's about how business [b>gets done[/b>:
A quick trip to a "famous" pulpit.

Fat Boy Slim
Deep Purple
Johnny Cash
The Clash
Blue Oyster Cult


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Further annotations
All quotes are from Peter Ackroyd's Shakespeare: The Biography.

"T.S. Eliot once suggested that bad poets borrow while good poets steal; Shakespeare managed to do both." (page 193)

That got mangled and the way I first saw it, attributed without attribution was Pablo Picasso, as "Good artists copy; great artists steal."

"Self-estrangement has become so obvious a topic of Shakespearean commentary that it is often forgotten that it is peculiar to, and symptomatic of, his genius." (page 193)

"It has often been noticed that in the plays there is no sense of Shakespeare's personality, and that the characters themselves do all the thinking." (page 193)

Hard to imagine, then that the writer removed himself, and let the characters speak for themselves. Just the other day, Bubba was telling me....

"We may refine this further by noting that Shakespeare excelled at scenes in which authority confronts disorder where, by the use of colloquialisms and other devices, the figure of authority is able to communicate with the discomfited crowd." (page 199)

It was a point about some of the earlier plays that might, or might not, have been written by the young playwright, sort of like early versions of history plays. Or plays, which might - or might not - have had Shakespeare's input. At least one or two early plays were probably, at the very least, doctored by him.

"The humor of the Elizabethan stage, and indeed the humor of the medieval mysteries and interludes, survives still in farce and in pantomime. It is one of the unchanging features of the English imagination." (page 222)

Humor. Important. Heard it before, "Say something funny." I've generally enjoyed the comedy of manners, and more important, the absurd, black comedy of the British. Strange lands, strange lads. Lord Strange's Men, that was one of the companies the young Shakespeare was associated with.

"There are a great many stage-fights in his plays; no other dramatist of the period used them so frequently or with such dramatic effect, which suggests some particular interest on his part." (page 234)

Sex and violence. Remind me of Thersites, "Still wars and lerchery, nothing else holds fashion." (I think I missed the quote.)

But the point is taken, and Shakespeare - the actor - probably trained for stage sword fighting, hence the popularity. Plus violence. Action movies, you know. As the song goes, the "cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder...." however, a wee bit of the ulta-violence is always good for drawing a crowd.

"Imagination and borrowing were part of the craft of composition. It is the normal story of influence and gradual change." (page 237)
"He would sometimes copy a source line by line, and even word for word, when he knew he could not surpass it. His interest lay in reimagining events and characters." (page 238)

In our more modern times, that would get lawyers out, but the story,, as it unfolds, traces the various versions of plays, especially the more accessible data about early plays, and how certain parts were added as time went by.


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Quick hits
Bubba's little my space observations. Pursuant to his observations, there's a spot on my space for moi (don't expect updates there).

Frank Zappa | The Derailers | Strauss | Hank 3
Pink Floyd | Yes

Odd links and stuff. No order.


"Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles,
And waste the time which looks for other revels."
Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre (II.iii.99-100)

Like the cost of war?
Or just the cost of reconstruction?

Faster chips?

Media notes:
Nice bit. Sordid business, media.

Which is why I'm so distrustful of local media.

Astrology on the rise?
Maybe so, according to this dated article about this book.

Who'd a thunk it?

Terry Allen | Jimmy Buffet | ZZ Top
H3 | Lynyrd Skynyrd

I'm worried that I'm wearing out one of the iPods.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Obviously, I've been reading another Shakespeare biography, it's at once tough and interesting, to me. But I doubt it would have serious appeal to the masses. But what do I know?

I was collecting material for upcoming plays, and I came across a couple of useful notations. What I'm enjoying the most, though, is the fact that conjecture is clearly labeled as such.
"It has often been proved, however, that behind the most fanciful account there lies a substratum of truth." (page 52)
Peter Ackroyd's (exhaustive) Shakespeare: The Biography

Too true.

"What we call creative writing, the Elizabethans called rhetoric." (page 61)
Peter Ackroyd's Shakespeare: The Biography

Good to note when referring to "rhetoric" then and now.

"In true sixteenth-century fashion the dry account of receipts and payments is interrupted by notations on magical spells and astrological matters." (page 135)
Peter Ackroyd's Shakespeare: The Biography

Which, is one reason I've ben so fascinated with the canon. Plus the jokes.

But, I'd hardly recommend this book until it gets into paperback. Except, of course, for the players and scholars. As such, it's an excellent text, but not casual, or light, reading. English history and drama, and a lot of conjecture about the missing years - so far.

One of the points about the book that I really like? Something like ninety chapters divided over three or four sections, so it's easy to read. Sort of. But I'm not even halfway through it.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Johnny Cash (his version The Wanderer is haunting me.)
Thelonious Monk
Hank III
Rev. Horton Heat

Two-meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> Just a couple of quotes, one from a red-dirt rocker, and one from, some surprise here, Shakespeare's canon.

"I've been riding that fast lane for such a long time
And I learned that I love to hear them engines whine."
Brandon Jenkins from the album Unmended.

Song cycled up, just as I was walking out the door. Perfect tone, perfect tune. Miss the road when I'm home. Miss home when I'm on the road. But I love to hear them engines whine.

"They say best men are moulded out of faults,
And, for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad."
Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (V.i.451-3)

Guess I can't use that in a scope. Unless I already did. Measure for Measure is one of the "problem plays" because it can be interpreted in a number of ways. Which is always appealing to me.


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Texas weighs in at #3, in this list. I know where three of those cars are - family and the like.

It's a sign
It's a sign I noticed during Pecan Street Festival -

But the sign begs the question, is this, like, a local phenomena? Perhaps I'm too provincial - I'd be the first to admit to my rustic ways.


Book push:
From a Leo: Drive.

Forti et fideli nihil difficle.
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Fish on:
That was tough, the lake is a shade, like a color TV tuned to a dead channel. I could see, at alternate times of the day, gangs of bass, chasing smaller fish. None seemed too big. I threaded some new line on a reel, and gave it a spin. A toss. But ultimately, I was back to the old standard, much effort to catch just one fish. He sure was a feisty one, though, didn't like the idea of the picture. Got him, anyway.


Traffic jams
Or what I learned this last weekend?The host of the site did a hardware upgrade to part of the infrastructure, namely, work on the back-end of the host platform. Started with sporadic outages last Thursday, and then, Saturday morning, it all cratered.



As one small business supporting another small business, I understand. I finally broke down and called tech support Saturday morning, "they're working in it," was the recorded message.

I wandered up to the Pecan Street festival and had some "mystery meat on stick, probably fried, maybe baked, who knows?" kind of food. I pointedly ignored the problem.

Sunday morning, I tried a quick fix after I discovered that a half-dozen sites that I manage, or have access to, or whatever, on the same server, were all running just fine, albeit, without the interactive features I tend to employ. A simple script to echo the date and time could knock a page off-line, and with my site? The four most heavily trafficked pages, entry pages, all have a few bits and pieces of code that require interaction.

Date, time, content retrieval, and the rotating graphics, all of them are basically "moving parts" and the moving parts & pieces weren't moving. Hence the whole thing was offline.

Back online now.

What I learned:
I tend to see the web page as a fairly static, text-based medium. But even employing a few moving parts, my page is far more active than I thought. It's grown by accretion and influence rather than in a direct, lineal manner. But the highest traffic hits the most interactive of the pages. The more it wiggles, the more folks hit it. Wonder if that's like fish, too?

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Ripped off?
Panic software makes one utility that I use lot, just a simple piece of software for file transfers, and I've sent them money over the years.

So this was interesting, as well as visually appealing, to me.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Maybe that's an idea...

A link.

Another link.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Now that was fun!
One writer who I hold in high esteem, him being a fellow Texan, stuck someplace between old school punk and being called "Gramps," (not the Cramps, mind you), see, this guy once called me "always sunshine and light," or some other kind of a snicker. Mr. Happy, that's me.

True, after cranky people for a long period of time, I tend to get cranky, too. Plus, a stack of astrofish.net bills that can't be paid this week.

So - some surprise - I was fishing off the dock, at little after sunset when a certain red-headed Capricorn stopped by. Been a few weeks, and she was just recovering from surgery. We chatted, caught up, and to the west, the good lord was lighting the sky with huge bolts of electricity. In the night's air, conjunto music was playing the background, an accordion was howling a solo, sounded like East Austin was celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

"Storm's coming. Cool, huh?" I conversed under the night's cloud cover as another brilliant flash lit the western sky.

"Oh man, they said it's going to be bad - people in Llano and Mason? They're saying if you live in mobile home, get out now. It's really bad," she said, "they said the wind was changing directions."

A couple of more big rain drops fell. We wandered inside. She wandered off to tend to whatever.

A big gust of wind, slammed through the doorway, scared the cat, and the wind brought torrential rain. I closed the door, the cat skated off under the bed. Not a good sign.

The wind howled, the trees shook. Something shifted, a transformer blew, the place went dark.

Now, my most recent adventure fantasies involved hurricanes. So I lit a candle and took stock. I dug out a fishing shirt, figuring it was weatherproof, and I walked back to the shoreline. Three-foot swells. Cool! I was drenched inside of 30 seconds, so I ambled back inside and thought about it. Emergency supplies? Check. Leatherman? Check. Raincoat? I know I've got one somewhere. I felt around in the closet, pulled out the raincoat, pulled on a dry shirt, grabbed a flashlight, and walked back down to the shore.

I'm guessing 30-40 MPH winds, no hail, but an inch or two of water, and I hope my little fish friends are safe in their watery abode. I was hoping - trailer park and all - to see a twister or something.

The hurricane fantasy? I think I'm over that. This wasn't even a bad storm, Although, it took me less than 30 seconds to be completely prepared. It's a lifestyle point, I'm sure.

Less than an hour later, the rain let up a little, settling down to a steady drum beat, and the cat came out from under the bed. As I'm typing, she's sleeping next to me, on the couch, snoring. The cat is snoring, not the couch.

But for one minute, standing on the shoreline, okay, above the shoreline, the hems of my shorts getting drenched, the wind blasting me in the face, I was at peace. Ready for anything.

Battery is starting to run a little low on the laptop, though, and for the life of me, I can never figure out how people could read by candlelight. And I'll post this as soon as I have net connection, but right now?

Dulce periculum!
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Musical notations:
Since there's no net connect, all I can do is list these by hand, like, The Cramps, Riding the Storm Out REO Speedwagon, Twilight Zone (Golden Earring), and Twilight zone/Twilight Tone (Manhattan Transfer).

Technical issues
The server burped on Thursday morning, created a bit of a stir. Not much, and it was all up and running again in no time. I like the boys in the back room, when they tend to technical issues like that.

But it brings up a good point. Technical issues. At a minimum, it takes about 2 grand to run this place each month. Subscriptions pay one-quarter of that bill. Advertising and book sales are another 10%, at the very most. The rest comes out of my pocket. Simple math.

What to do?

Suggestions are welcome.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Visual clues: I always look for signs that interest me.
Bare Breasts:
I suppose I should come up with a similar idea, how about, next week's video? Sign up now, to see the sights.

I think I'll be bare-breasted for the weekly missive. Yeah, that works. If "sex sells," then the promise of topless astrology might be really appealing?

Or maybe not.

Two items culled from the digital archives, recent pictures. The first is obviously from an Amy's Ice Cream, and I think that points out the problems and associated fees with handling credit cards directly. Which I do, on occasion, but not as often these days. Minimum charge is $10.


And then the other sign. I've got a couple of shots of this church's sign because I've found it interesting, from time to time - someone - I'm guessing clergy - has a sense of humor. What's odd, I think the name the of the church itself has changed a couple of times. But the humor - or the message - is still there.


End times:
It's all a a sign that the end is near.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Two brothers:
Well now, that was fun. Wasn't exactly the first cast of the morning, but it was about the second or third, and the two guys who teased me all afternoon? Caught them. Both. Brothers, I'm sure of it.


Perhaps I've been out in the sun too long, but I can just imagine one bass telling the other, "No, dude, like you got to bite it! Score! It's like, you go up into the sky, right? And then the water is really thin, that high up? It's a total rush! But wait, you know, if you're afraid or something? Chicken!"

I carefully remove the hook - fish have no pain receptors in their tiny fish brains - and gently place them back in the water. Both times, the fish took off in an energetic manner. Off to tell his buddy all about his ride into the sky.

Two-Meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> Who would ever guess that statistics aren't truthful? However, the reasoning behind the article appears solid. Which is why I've learned not to rely on computer statistics and "hit counters" because those things can be tricked.

Pyramid power:
The biggest pyramid? And a Maya royal tomb.

And conspiracy theory to rule them all.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Monday miscellany?
Just a few odd bits.
Doubt this will happen to me.

Obviously missing something here:
50 Best Restaurants for Y2K6? I didn't see any Tex-Mex or BBQ, I mean, what's up with that?

Shake Stuff:
"If there is one aspect of writer's life that cannot be concealed, it is childhood. It arises unbidden and unannounced in a hundred different contexts. It cannot be denied or misrepresented without severe psychic disturbance on the surface of the writing. It is the very source of the writing itself, and must necessarily remain undefiled."Shakespeare: the biography by Peter Ackroyd. (NY; Doubleday, 2005, page 46.)


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The one that got away
Every fisherman has a story like this, the one that got away. It was this big, blah, blah, blah....

"Should've been here, yesterday, they were really biting then..."


I was fishing on the pier, after an exciting morning and afternoon on the water. I had some dead shrimp, a few live ones, and one of my standard baitcast reels on a svelte 6-foot-6 pole. I'd spooled u some special fishing line, 600-yard spool of line was, like, 99 cents at the Bass Pro in Houston, 15-pound test "saltwater" mono-filament. On the very end was about a foot of wire, a three-quarter ounce sinker, a sharp number two (blood red) hook, and just the tiniest fragment of a shrimp.

I felt something tug at the line, I tugged back, set the hook, and I got ready to reel in another little fish. Only, this one pulled back - hard. Suddenly, the line was creating an arc, halfway around the area I was fishing, maybe twenty yards or so. I reeled and I reeled, the rod was bent over, and the line was holding tight.

Under the cover of darkness, one of the guys on the pier joked about it, "Yeah, that's a snag, careful you don't break...." then he watched as the snag rocketed around the corner of the pier, trying to take me with it - the drag (brake) on the reel singing and faintly smelling of burnt oil.

The tone changed, from joking to incredulity, and the crowd gathered. Eventually, I had the advice of a dozen strangers on how to land a fish that was "[b>That[/b> big!"

One guy was stretched out on the dock, trying to get a grip on the fish itself, and I'm used to bass that can be handily yanked up by a lip.

"Man, what kind of fishing line is that?"

"Oh my god, look at the size of that sucker!"

"You can't lift him out with just that hook, here, let me get a grip on gill...."

It was a black drum, about three feet long, and somewhere between 20 and 40 pounds, And eventually, he did make a getaway, The night before, some fisher person had left a net out on the dock, but, regrettably, the net was no longer there. However, I did have a crowd looking on. I not fishing for an audience, but sometimes, a little corroborating testimony is nice. Validation. It was more than three feet long.

I have a bruise from wrestling the pole.

I've heard tales about dock fishing and pulling in just such a large fish. I just never thought it would happen to me. And since there is neither picture nor fish, some people won't believe it. But it did happen, and I've got impartial witnesses.

Which is why a coastal adventure is always fun.

Couple of fish on Sunday, but nothing like the monster "that got away," bereft of photos.




Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


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Much Ado
From Much Ado About Nothing.

"bait the hook well, this fish will bite."
(Claudio, act II, I'm thinking.)

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


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Coastal connection
"Actually, they're hitting on dead shrimp, more than anything," said my informed resource. Made me think of this sign:


And fresh shrimp. The cockroach of the ocean. Good bait. Fresh dead.

Nothing of note, picked up Pa Wetzel, off to fish a in few minutes. Wind is pretty high, and throwing bait into the wind, it's, like, never mind. Consider how much fun I'll have sharing a hotel with the Baptist Women's (something something) group. They're having a retreat. I wonder how long before pop starts getting hit on...

Dulce periculum.
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Perhaps Shakespeare said it best?
"Spongy April at thy best betrims
To make cold nymphs chaste crowns."
Shakespeare's The Tempest (IV.i.76-7)

High tides and green bass:
Before packing up to leave, I was playing with the bass. The girlfriend is back and by the shape of her tail, she's spawned. Doesn't show in the picture. What a nice, hefty little girl.


Why they're called "bigmouth"

Finis coronat opus.
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I was brushing my teeth the other afternoon, just something I do from time to time. Unless you’re my dentist, then I do it about three times a day, and I floss every day - or days when I eat BBQ, anyway. Usually.

So I was vigorously applying pressure to the toothbrush and the handle snapped in half. Stabbed my gum. It wasn't pleasant.

Stupid quiz time:

I'm a Ferrari 360 Modena!

You've got it all. Power, passion, precision, and style. You're sensuous, exotic, and temperamental. Sure, you're expensive and high-maintenance, but you're worth it.

Take the "Which Sports Car Are You?" quiz.

And a another:

Mostly Hobbes

You are 30% Calvin and 70% Hobbes
You've got elements of both Calvin and Hobbes, but over all, your sensible side wins out over your wild streak, and you tend toward the tiger. As the picture below indicates, the head is the first place that people usually turn to the darkside (i.e. Calvin): symptoms include irresponsible behavior and crazy ideas. You're liable to both. But beneath that you have a heart, a sensitive side, and this more often than not carries the day.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 23% on calvin
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 59% on hobbes
Link: The Calvin Or Hobbes Test written by gwendolynbooks on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


Abby Road (yes, that Abbey Road) webcam.

Fish on:
Little fish, full of springtime vigor. Vicious little guys, put up a good fight, they were hanging out and feeding by stump in the river. I'd say the fish won more than I did.

Forti et fideli nihil difficle.
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Two-meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> dunno, I just thought this was funny. But I might be a little warped.

Going coastal:
Time for another trip to the coast. Think it looks like a good time to fish. Got all the salt water gear together.

"The clouds from the south-west were known as 'Severn Jacks' and presaged rain."
Shakespeare: the biography by Peter Ackroyd. (NY; Doubleday, 2005, page 8.)


Going shopping:
So glad it's not me.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Catch of the day:
Big snapper:

Monday's mania
The Big Bamboo by Tim Dorsey. Another "killer" Serge book.

There were two parts, and neither is effective criticism on my part, but, to me, the way it worked is that I read a review on Amazon, and I was afraid that would taint my opinion. It didn't. Or it did, but in a good way. The other factor is having listened to the author himself speak a time of two, at book signings.

I liked the book and there was a bit of surprise ending. Always is, trusting that author. What kept my attention the whole time was the pacing. Quick. I liked that.

Fish on:
Handful of crappie, then one that got away, she shook the hook, and this little guy:

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Fried on Friday
I watched as a guy behind the counter at one place, I watched as he scooped, like, a half gallon of vanilla ice cream into blender. He then poured in two shots of espresso, and topped it off with a little condensed, cold coffee.

Hit blend. I think there was a small amount of spittle drooling from my mouth as I accepted single shot on ice.

Paid Content:
Here's the scoop: $1.99 for home movies via iTunes. I like the idea!

Ten more:
Ten weird gadgets, although, some aren't really that weird.

Three more:
These are supposedly useful and save energy.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Urbane lifestyles
Sister in the news.

Gas prices:
It's getting there, getting to the point that a monthly subscription is less than a gallon of gas.

Fish on! (in the rain)
Couple of bass, while the website was raining record numbers of page views. Lots of traffic, peaked early, too. The fish were feisty, and there was comical episode with the camera, the fish jumped out of my grip and the suddenly splashed back in the water. A good time was had by all, I'm sure. Nice kids, look like they're growin up to be a healthy little gang of bass who live in my backyard.
image image

Ranger Girl:
Tim Pratt's The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl has an intriguing tagline, good cover art, and host of off-the-shelf characters in Santa Cruz, CA. The protagonist is faced with a primal evil, and the world between fiction and reality gets blurry. To me, this book is in the same vein as much of Joe R. Lansdale's earlier work. And while Ranger Girl is richly imagined, there was something missing.

I think the the problem is the book's covers are too far apart. In the book's defense, though, it is a pulp masterpiece. Not a great book, but then, for its genre, a very decent start. The denouement did evoke a small rush of shared emotion, but all in all, it's not that wonderful. But I did feel for the characters, even if there was a comic-book quality to the text.

Hat tip:
Can I get an all-mighty "Amen, brother!"


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First iteration
"Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners."
Shakespeare's Othello (I.iii.331)

Needs work, but it's an idea. First draft is here.


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Price points

Considering the price point:
I got a couple of calls on Tuesday, phone consultations, and a local request. What was odd, to me, was how the price point affected different people. By Left Coast standards, New York Big City standards, I'm cheap. But for a local person, I seem expensive.

With gas headed towards $4 per gallon, and soon, and with the price of electricity going up, I'm thinking it's time to raise the prices. But as of now, I'm not. The simple goal is to keep inexpensive and affordable to a broader section.

I was talking to an internet expert the other evening, and the suggestion was that advertising was supposed to bear the brunt of the income, whereas, with me, that advertising doesn't mean more than a few dollars - every quarter.

Up cycled a little bit of Kinky Friedman's music. I realized as he talked his way through a song, that some people are better suited for different mediums. He's a much more enjoyable novelist than musician. And as a politician? All I can avow is that I've signed the petition to get him on the ballot.

Unpaid political commentary:
Movie trailer.

Non-consumer goods:
The top five items [b>not[/b> to buy.

This qualifies as [b>news[/b>:
Sex sells. Always has. So is this news?


Religions - by area:
Cool map that doesn't exactly line up with what I know, but then, what do I know about geographic religions? The map is here.

Little fish:
Just wee little fishes, and I spent an hour or more in the morning, trying to tease this one fellow into biting. He was so not interested in anything I had. Not even close. He'd sniff at it, then look for something else. Spotted several in the afternoon, and the recent "high tides" have left the fish active. But I couldn't get anything other than small fish. That one, poor little bass, too, I was giggling when I unhooked his ass.

image image

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Two-meat Tuesday
iTunes & fish.
Why iTunes works?
I've owned and lost (discarded, stolen, worn out, left behind) several recorded music collections. Take for example, Manhattan TRansfer, out of their catalog, I'm only looking at about three songs, "Birdland," Twilight Zone," and, of course, "Java Jive." To be honest, I was only looking for the Twilight Zone song, but once I recalled the band's name, then I realized that there were two other tunes worth having. I don't swing into swing music, or whatever it's called, too often. But every once in a while, yeah, it's nice to have it cycle up on the player.

Tough Pisces:
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> That was one tough fish to catch. Took three poles, four bait changes, and she kept coming back, and I finally banked her with the old green worm. Some days, nothing but live bait will work. She certainly didn't approve of any of my other color choices, that's for sure. She did like the noise of the rattles, from the weights, so it was more like a noise thing for her. Just goes to show something about fishing, I'm sure.

[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>That mean little one was back, too, and I'm sure he was doing his usual, trying to pull me in the lake.

Have to admit, I like his spirit.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Boom boom
Out go the lights!
Unverified at this time:
The news I got from neighbors is that the 100 degree temperatures - across Texas - was creating a surge in demand for AC and that resulted in rolling brown-outs - only - again - unverified - they couldn't get Austin started after cutting off the juice to the trailer park.

[style=floatpicleft>[/style>Which means? More time to fish,. I guess. The catfish was caught by a Virgo of British extraction, that heavy accent, fishing talk late into the night. The guy had a pod set-up with three nice carp poles, and the little buzzer did go off at one point, but he couldn't tell what kind of fish it was, "I think it's a bass, no, wait, get the net..." (And much hilarity did ensue.)

Catfish in the night. I switched poles and hooked up some chicken liver, but to no avail. However, it was a good evening.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Easter parties
Cascarrones and more.

I'm unsure of the symbolism or the source, but it seems that a local idea is catching more prominence: cascarrones.

I really should make one of these t-shirts up, a pink one, "Keeping laughing: it's your girlfriend's t-shirt."

Scotch Drunk:
Which, I would suggest, isn't the same thing as "drunk on scotch," or a drunken scotchman, although, it is a similar situation. It's the new name I've got for the guy - usually males - who are in a good, expansive mood. Drunk. Slurring. Loud, rowdy and over the bar band's noise, I can't understand a word that the "scotch drunk" is saying. But it's a good story, a garbled bunch of words, then a loud laugh.

Still giggling:
It's one of those memories that comes swarming up from the leftover Saturday night images, it's CR, on stage, about to introduce a song called "Love means never having to say you're hungry," and from the stage banter, he asked if everyone knew what the song was about.

"Hey, raise your hand if you [b>don't[/b> know what this song is about," and he looked down, "okay, ask you husband, he should know."


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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"Where am I to go now that I've gone too far"
(You will come to know when the bullet hits the bone)

Happy (something Sunday)
"But, look, the morn in russet mantle clad,
Walk o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill."
Shakespeare's Hamlet, (I.i.186-7)

Charlie Robison at Helotes Saturday night. What surprised me was that there was no backstage pass for me, and that the crowd itself was pretty tiny.

It was cool out, and as the moon was rising, trailing along behind Jupiter, thin clouds scudding by. Almost chilly, undero the trees in Helotes.

CR loped through his set, the encore, and he was relaxed about what he was doing. Felt genuine, in a South Texas, west of San Antonio kind of way.

Part of the closing banter was about growing up in Bandera, 40 miles west of San Antonio. And, at the time, San Antonio was a metal capital - heavy metal music. Always has been an odd association. But it fits.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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First & last
First fish Saturday morning was before the sun was properly up. Water temperature was registering between 73 and 76 degrees. The weather was predicted tro be qwinds from the south at 10 to 25 MPH.

First fish was while it was still dark out.




Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Too much to eat?

A long lost cousin surfaced, and wanted to kill some time, Kramer style. The conversation started with something along the lines of, "I'll be in the Austin area for a few days, how about an afternoon meal?" Although, come to think of it, that wasn't exactly what I heard. Can't recall exactly, not that I'll let that interfere.

He's an executive or something, in the "oil-patch," down close to Houston. Full of rough-neck stories, too. Plus kids. It was more a chance to talk and rattle on about whatever is going on, rather than any kind of in-depth forced "get to know family" situation. Originally, it was going to be him, kids, wife, &c.

We had a meal, out on the dock at the Hula Hut, Aries server. He concurred that Austin has some mighty fine scenery, what; overlooking the lake and all. Then there was a cigar, a little night fishing, just chatter.

I rather enjoyed the stories about fishing on oil rigs, what that's like.

Parental control:
Why it's difficult to be a kid these days.

How to sleep on an airplane - like I didn't know that.


The Fine Print:
If this is true, then e-mail can be considered contractual? Not to mention the ubiquitous fine print and astrofish.net all-encompassing EULA.

Some things you just have to see:
Yesterday's littlest fish was back again. Feisty little feller. I think he's still trying to drag me into the lake with him.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Rambling notations
"How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears."
Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (act V, scene I, lines 63-5)

Fishing - on the lake - Saturday morning - then I'm thinking, Charlie Robison is down in Helotes Saturday night. Time to let the sweet strains of honky-tonk music "creep into our ears."

What to do when someone (or something) steals your stuff (on the web).

Added this astronomy note to this week's Pisces scope. Important news. And a wink, between the lines, to astrology.

Deep scale:
[style=floatpicright>image[/style>I wandered in a very southerly direction, from Shady Acres, way down onto Lower Congress Ave., off to see the dentist, again. Southbound on Congress, three times, I mean, this is weird to me, but three different folks identified me, hollered a "Hello," 2 Leo's, another Leo and Capricorn. I don't guess I can count an officer blipping his siren at me as a real greeting.

In front of St. Ed's, there were a few struggling Bluebonnets, but there was a veritable plethora of Indian Blankets. Camera was starting to flip out a little, but that one shot did turn out nice.

And it's another:
[style=floatpicleft>image[/style>Wee fish from the wee fish file - I spent a late morning then a late afternoon, chasing perches, and while I could interest a big fish, none of them seemed that interested. Twice, I had the wee fish's big sister come swarming up from the depth to see what was on my line, only to take one look at me - and bolt back to the safety of the deep.

While I was trying for a single picture, I hit the buttons wrong on the camera, and rather than dispose of useless file footage, I did it as a clip, experimenting, again with the file format and size. Look at the fish here.

I'm still having images of the fish talking to me, I mean, that's three time this week, I can just see him (her) cussing a blue streak, "Next time, I'm taking you down, big boy."

I'm sure that wee fish is thinking, "If I can just get a good bite out of that thumb, I'll eat him. Just gobble him right up. Watch me."

Uh-huh. Funny, though, I was waiting on the moon to rise, and as I was watching my line sink into the lake, the moon crept up without making any noise. Caught another turtle, but that was about it.


Big fish little fish
The lead-in to this story caught my attention: about big fish, whereas the morning's amusement, while the sky dripped moisture, was little fish.


Tax-time, membership drive:
I've got to run some kind of a membership drive. Can't figure it out, though, because, some days, I can't be bothered. But what's the best way to drive up membership? Costs around $2K per month to run this place. That means I'm about 500 monthly subscriptions short of even coming close to a break-even point.

(Bucky's prop courtesy of TFG)

I wonder if this has anything to do with taxes?

Size does matter:
I was answering a tech question for Sister's web person, and after making a point about video, I started messing with the files and settings. I did several version of the clip, about four minutes of video, in a sensible web-standard 320 by 240 window frame. As an mp4, with the audio cranked done, it was set to stream at - if I understand this - something like 160 (something) over a 256K DSL. Fatter pipes wouldn't be a problem, but I'm figuring that it has to work on 128K DSL, at the very minimum. The actual file size for that mp4 was 9.5 megs. Same footage, exported as a Quicktime (tm) mov file was 31 megs.

The bandwidth isn't a problem, not at this point, but the mp4 is much more compact. Less than one-third the size? This isn't rocket surgery.

Forti et fideli nihil difficle.
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Austin's bad cabs
[style=floatpicright>image[/style> It was a Yellow cab, making a left from southbound congress, onto Caesar Chavez, headed into the hotel's parking lot. Bad Yellow cab driver. Bad - bad Austin Yellow Cab driver who was driving number 75 (a mini-van), with at least two fares in the back, looked like tourists. At 5:02 PM, Tuesday afternoon. The driver was talking on the phone and as I looked up as I crossed the street, he gestured with the open phone in his hand. I didn't quite catch what he was saying; however, as a pedestrian, when the "walk" light is on, as it was, just a little reminder to the professional cab drivers: the pedestrian has the right of way. Hint: I wasn't the only pedestrian in the crosswalk, between the lines. I just got the ire. I was tempted do something stupid like return a salute, but mini-van versus pedestrian? Vehicle usually wins the first round, and the second round, in court, isn't much good, posthumously.

I'd start a Yellow Cab Boycott, but I've known several drivers that I've sincerely liked. Still, if those were tourists, it would leave a bad impression. Wouldn't do me much good to just have a picture, after the fact, either, from my friends at the police department, as I understand it, the driver's face must be clearly visible, and I hardly think a rictus of rage conveys the proper meaning.

Fish on:
Look, these are not big fish. Hardly any size, not that size matters, but it's solid proof that I was fishing for a little while, and that I enjoyed the experience, and that some of the fish like me. Although, in one shot, that little one looks angry.

image image

With that malicious look in his wee little bass eye, I can imagine he's thinking, "Fooled me once, shame on me, fooled me twice, shame on me, next time, buster, you're going [b>down[/b>."

As one might surmise, the wee little fishes do not strike terror in my heart. Bad yellow cab drivers are another story.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Satire and parody
Should run a subtitle: over-thinking country music.
Dateline: Eden, Texas - Look it up on map, Eden is between Brady and San Angelo. Edge of nowhere. In the middle of the plains, west of the hill country. I've been blessed with not having to stop there, last time I was through, but I did notice that at least one sign claimed that Eden was the center of Texas, and that makes it the center of my world.

Primary source of income, I'm guessing, the main employer in town looks like it's a correctional facility. What I missed seeing, and I intended to get an image if I'd seen it, was the usual "Don't pick up hitchhikers" sign. I've always guessed that it's a local affectation.

West Texas is still in my nostrils, or so it feels. I can still have a rough patch of dry skin, and that was only 48 hours, and by their standards, it was a wet spring. Green, lush, verdant, fresh from some recent rain. Bluebonnets crowding the low spots in the highway's median, low, wet places in ditches. What I'm doing is establishing Texas highway credit, although, to be honest, under 200 miles really isn't that much of a drive, not around here.

[style=floatpicleft>[/style>Yes, I followed Scott's advice, I spooled up H3, and I let him warble through his first set, sounding like a cross between - work with me here, I'm little weak in my real punk stuff - but Misfits, maybe Dead Kennedys, perhaps a sprinkling of Dead Milkmen. And throw some hardcore DAC along with the rest of the country outlaws, then invoke Hank Williams, Sr. Shaken, not stirred.

It was early in the second CD. I didn't even think about it because I'm personally affected by the train noise. It's very personal to me. Unlike many of my neighbors, friends, and cohorts, I've actually ridden trains around "East Texas," Austin to and from Ft. Worth, Dallas, and recently, San Antonio. Add to this, I've used the railway right-of-way as a pedestrian highway, sort of my own way to stay off city streets, and I've heard that noise, on the second CD, many times.

So the "over-thinking" part results from having spent time around trains. On trains. Travel.

One of the most emotionally painful yet equally cathartic realizations was a slow train back from Dallas. Middle of the summer, air-conditioned comfort, and Lyle Lovett was with me, in spirit, with his forlorn best voice singing Steve Fromholz Texas Trilogy. A train song, for sure, about something that no longer exists. Cross the long trestle over the Brazos River, and there's the abandoned station and store the songs are about.

I didn't even consciously think about it, when I first listened to the second of the new H3 CD, with its 42-minute "untitled" cut. Around five minutes in, there's that train sound, faint, then louder, and anyone who's stood by the tracks while a long freight's rolled though knows the sounds.

I can't even begin to wrap my mind around whatever the concept or overall point is to that long, untitled cut. Couple of songs, lots of ambient noises, perhaps it has no point. Maybe there's a theme. Maybe not.

But rather than sit and think about it, I just enjoy it, although, I have tendency to roll back over the train noises a time or two, since it evokes something in me.

The satire and parody, one or the other, or perhaps, a more loquacious single-finger salute towards the slick, over-produced music with strings and rhythm sections, that comes blaring out. Amazing stuff.

"And the sound of trains only remains
In the memory of the ones like me."
(Steve Fromholz, Texas Trilogy: Trainride)

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Whore House
It's in San Angelo.


Mythologies vary from location to location. In some parts of the world, historical events deal with uprisings and claiming new frontiers for truth and justice. In other places, or along other lines, the old enemies of state and basic run-of-the-mill outlaws are deserving of plaques and romance.

So I found Miss Hatties a bit odd, but then, also in keeping with standard Texas traditions, too, perfectly normal.

San Angelo is either thirty or sixty miles west of the fabled Hill Country, and while San Angelo is located in and amongst some hills, it truly is part of the western portion of Texas, the cowboy image holds true and strong. The noble cowboy, I'd like to suggest. Which I'm not, as I don't which end of a horse is the operating end, but I understand the spirit.

Meandering back, there's Flat Rock Creek, Voca, and a sign pointing down a dusty road, "Primitive Baptist Church Spring Valley," and finally, entering into Austin's neighborhood, right before the subdivisions begin, there's always that "home again" happiness.

The Fine Print:
"Not Responsible: Theft, fights or accidents in the parking lot."

"This parking lot is protect by electric surveillance equipment. You are being monitored."

"Give yourself a gift: the present moment.
"People out for posthumous fame forget that Generations To Come will be the same annoying people they know now. And just as mortal. What does it matter to you if they say x about you, or think y?"
Marcus Aurelius Book VIII, #44

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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San Angelo, road home &c.
Dug up one more historical oddity about San Angelo, the confluence for the Butterfield Trail, the Goodnight - Loving cattle route, and the San Antonio - El Paso road. Plus, at one time, it was close to a Comanche watering hole.
Insert something about Ft. Concho here.

Fear and trepidation:
Mr. Sanders was the sole, driving force behind the San Angelo Wholistic Rodeo, which, for a one day event, was a success.


The readers were tucked off in a room, and I felt like we were just another sideshow. Looked like, on Saturday morning at 8:30 AM, it was going to be another loser show. I'd be grateful for a chance to maybe cover my cost of dinner, and that was about it.

Then there was the start time. El Paso, the weekend before, show starts at 11 AM, which, by Austin time, is noon. Noon is a much more reasonable start time. Much to my chagrin, I worked from 8:45 A-friggin'M to almost 7 Saturday night. Four cups of coffee, one cookie, and that was it until I staggered out the door. Plus two bottles of water - the promoter himself made several rounds, handing out bottled water. It was a nice touch - sets the tone a little different from the usual charlie - foxtrot working weekends.

What's special - or odd - or special and odd - is having customers, clientele, show up from years ago. And when I mean years ago, I mean from more than a decade back. Down from Lubbock and Abilene, and a host of surrounding towns I can name, just different - in a good way. The worst part? Not recognizing what should be familiar faces. Folks I haven't seen close to a dozen years?

[style=floatpicleft>[/style>Saturday evening, very much spent from working what was precious close to a real 12-hour shift, I could only have one destination in mind for dinner: Zentner's Steak House. Steak Tenders.

"It's the center cut of the tenderloin, like a T-Bone without the bone," the Virgo explained to me, "how do you like it?"

Rare. Just kind of cripple, no need to hurt the entire cow, that's my way of looking at it. Which is what I got. And it was every bit as delicious as I recall. Better, even.

Heading down the street, I completely ran out of blank CD's. San Angelo has grown. What was once a sleepy town, on the edge of the west Texas plains, the little village has sprouted shopping centers, malls, sprawling complexes filled with names that are familiar chains, and, of course, a drive-though Starbucks. I miss the colloquial and regional flavor of the old "Feed & Seed" stores, not the monolithic chains that dominated the night sky.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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San Angelo &c.
Ghosts. Drifting down the highway, H3 as a lyrical backdrop, giggling at some lyrics, and one image, against a brilliant yellow-orange sunset, a single weathervane and windmill, like some kind of a tourist - postcard - whatever - western image. Only, for real.

Why guys don't ask for directions?
Because when I gave in and bought can of potato chips, just to buy something and ask for directions in the night? No one at the store knew.

"I think, like, you go down this road until it's almost out-of-town, and then, like, it should be there."

Thanks for the hot tip. Don't like us foreigners much, now do they?


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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San Angelo, take three
[style=floatpicright>[/style> I was going someplace with all this, earlier, but I lost track. Friday morning, I stumbled across a point about journalism, and the reason why I've abandoned the Dallas Morning News, for the Houston Chronicle, as a weekly read, since the Houston paper doesn't pretend to be unbiased. This was hilarious to me, in a sick, twisted way. And it only points to the problem, as well.

From Business Week, an article about five points to a better presentation, and I'm wondering, following those five points, if that would be a mere five rounds.

And what to do for an encore?

It's all about bias, and I don't pretend not to have one.

Petrochemical ideas:
It's getting a lot tougher to buy gas for a rent car. Or any vehicle - besides something that runs Willie's Bio-diesel. Rough estimate: 50% of the oil, which is then refined into gasoline and other petrochemical products (plastic comes to mind), is from the Middle East, last figures I saw put 40% from Saudi oil fields. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, with the Koran (Qur'an - Allah be praised) as the constitution.

So a portion of the gasoline each of us buys is helping to fund a monarchy based upon Islam. Did I get that right? Unless, of course, one purchases gasoline from other sources? Right? Like CITGO?

Wait, CITGO is wholly owned by the Venezuelan government, a dictatorship trying to take down the US, according to some opinions?

I'm going to hazard a guess here, I'm not so sure that one is better than the other, but coming from from an errant astrologer in the heart of Texas, I'm guessing that the guy in Venezuela is better to deal with. So far, Venezuelan extremists haven't flown any planes into our buildings.

I'll be the first to admit, though, I could be all wrong.

Musical notes:
Following the advice of TFG, there's nothing like letting 71 or better yet, 87, unspool while the second disk of H3's latest is running as a musical addition.

Road Food:
Laird's BBQ, on the right-hand side. The place for good, local color. The conversations were insightful, in a colloquial way - and Friday is Steak Night: Big slab of sirloin, done right, on a grill. Laird's in Llano.

Useful French:
"La police, ne t'a pas encore trouvé?" (much, much more here)


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Ready - set - road
I picked up a book a few weeks back, Iron Sunrise, and I'm having a devil of a time with it. Oh no, it's a good book. Possibly great. Tight pacing, plot, and not too many "off the shelf" characters. Good, hard-boiled Science Fiction. Material I used to love, and this book can make me fall in love with the genre all over again. However, maybe it's just the pesky planet Mars, I've had a tough time getting around to reading. But it's a good novel, if one likes cyberpunk. Which I do, although, I'm wondering about that taxonomy anymore. Taut, stylish, rich prose is hard to find.

The underlying problem has to do with me, not the book I'm currently reading. If I were a student, I'd be one of those kids who sits in the front and acts distracted.

Not a chicken ranch?
I was doing a little research on what I recall as a bucolic backwater, this coming weekend's destination, San Angelo. History book had a short bit about a whore house. I did a quick search, and it turns out, there might be just such a place. Oh, but look, there's a web site.

Last time I made a trip to San Angelo, must've been ten years ago, it was like, about three Wal-Marts away. I'm guessing that's up to six by now.

Used to be it was BBQ in Llano, then DQ in Brady, and San Angelo had TexMex, two spots, one was my kind of a dive. Doubt it's still there. I'll look and see. Also: Brady's, like, the "purt-near" the geographical center of Texas. I'm sure that means something.

How this works:
Couple of years back, I was impressed with TFG's command of Texas music. I burned TFG a CD with mix of H3 stuff on it, from lyrical to hardcore, mostly from the first two albums and the second bootleg - personally - I like the "hellbilly' stuff best. TFG writes a review, and then some guy in Houston agrees.

One of the comments, though, and I'll have to agree, I feel myself getting ripped, just listening to the latest. It was like that 15-year old rum, smooth, sweet, and perhaps, a bit too strong.

There's an added layer, too, the latest, and I'm wondering if it's me, or is there a dangerously intoxicating level of parody and satire in the music's production values.

H3 is a Sagittarius.


Fish on:
What's a day without a little fishing?

Plenty of attitude, in fact, Thursday morning's fish was probably the same feller from Wednesday noon, except it found its self in my hands for a moment. Not exactly a bright fish, same green worm trick, same place, but, to the fish's credit, a great fighter. Lots of spunk for a youngster. Tried to slap me with the tail several times. Poor fish, wound up thumping against the dock like one of those singing Bass Plaques. Not very bright but plenty of attitude -

As long as there's fish:
More news on the apocryphal texts - more conspiracy theories, probably.

Dulce periculum.
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(auto) biographical information
I was asked a for a headshot, and while I've got a standard media kit, I'm thinking that the old collection of headshots needed to be updated. And what I really wanted was a more current image. So there are four, culled from the last 12 months or so, and one of them should be used. But which one?

I'm just personally against the concept of using an image from, like, High School for a "current" web image. Just strikes me as a little unjust.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Stuck in a rut?
Some days, I have to wonder if I'm caught in a trap, one of my own making, stuck, no way out, and I was thinking about this as I meandered towards a certain creek. With no paddle. Three days in a row, three days now, get up and plug away on a horoscope. Then fish. Or fish and then work on a scope. Then wander towards downtown, via Barton Springs' cold, clear water, go for a quick dip, stop off and get a single shot of afternoon espresso, and wander back home. Each afternoon, different routes, but certain destinations were the same, same spot on the creek for a swim. Different coffee shops, but still. Vegetarian food twice, two-meat platter on Tuesday. All very predictable. Safe. It's warm out - spring-like.

Caught a couple of small fish, thought about cutting one up for bait, but I just tossed it back. A neighbor (Sagittarius) did see me wrestling with one fish, Wednesday noon, but the monster shook the hook before I could get a grip (and photo). Yeah, pretty much sounds like I'm stuck in a rut.

Twice on Wednesday afternoon, an - I'm assuming - attractive young lady on a bicycle, one was brunette, one was blond, both were wearing jeans, went pedaling by, and both of them said "Hi!" as if they knew me. But from behind large dark glasses? I couldn't identify either one.

At least five miles each afternoon, I hope that counts for something.

Good concept, micropayments drive game business - elsewhere. The game is free, the customized stuff costs.


Then again, I look at my own price point and structure, and I'm figuring I'm at the mini-payment point already. If it costs too much, you probably shouldn't be wasting time reading horoscopes.

And other online trends:
Washington Post on growth, and "what's happening" online. Huh.

Afternoon shots:
Two images, one from downtown, actually, now that I write it down, both were - physically - downtown.

image image

That flower, maybe this weekend I'll get chance to try and rescue the images from the disk, but Tuesday afternoon, there were three or four of those little weeds, and by Wednesday afternoon, most of them were gone. The problem with shifting digital image recorders, different cameras, is the way the background metal wall looks. It's really just a rust color, being rusted steel, and from the point of composition, at least, as far as I care about it, I liked the rust color to be more rusted. The sign on its side? Might just be me. I thought it was obliquely funny. Pointed, too.

Mercurial notes from space:
So, the way I read this, Mercury took a big hit, a while back, like 4.5 billion years ago.

Da Vinci code:
Blah blah blah: any bets on this being a cruel hoax? And the most interesting pull-out quote I read in the text?
"Modern scholarship has shown, however, that the tradition of Mary having been a prostitute is based on later church legends and not on any biblical text."

Oh but it gets better, and I must suggest a little suspect, but then, translation is a tricky business. If I can miss a nuance with someone from another state, or some girlfriend, well, there you have it.
"Mary says that if it's so easy for Jesus to produce gold, then a honeymoon in Gaul should not have been beyond their means."

Of all the gall?


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Two meat Tuesday
[style=floatpicright>image[/style>I'm continually amused at the objective journalism that is practiced in my own, home state. I read two headlines, one from the Houston Chronicle and one from some other local paper. The Houston paper's headline, ran across the whole page, and it suggested that "DeLay EXPECTED TO STEP ASIDE" whereas the other paper's headline was more like, "DeLay is outta there."

Same data, different wording. Means something. Or, as I suspect, "Houston, we have a problem."

(Which, I might add, for my half-dollar? The Houston paper is better.)

The Discovery Nature:
I was going to save this for a horoscope, and at some point, I might still use it. I'm crushed because the little card that holds the images isn't letting go of the images, and I think this is another broken camera, but I'm not too surprised - I'm hard on equipment. The deal was, I had a couple of pictures of a Garter Snake - a respectable size snake - trying to eat a toad.

I was on a shaded portion of the trail, and there was a gentle incline, more like a 45-degree bank, covered with green plants and dead live oak leafs. I heard a rustling and upon inspection, I noted that there was the snake with a toad wedged in its mouth.

Just common sense, unless your name really is "Bubba," don't try to eat something bigger than your head. The snake was close to two feet long, and while it's not the largest one I've seen here, it was a good size for that species, which, if I recall tends to be about 18 inches. Several lines running down its back, one bright read, and it would tend to blend perfectly with the ground cover. Unless that snake was struggling with prey.

The snake did something that really amazed me, it held that toad, one toad eye still blinking at me, in its wee garter snake jaws. I'm sure the snake was thinking "leave me alone, I'm busy," but I persisted, trying to catch just one good shot of the scene. I was scampering up the hill, trying to mess with the camera's controls, and aiming for the snake. The snake had its jaws wide open, locked around a toad, and it wasn't exactly a small toad, either.

The little snake, little to me, was working its way up the hill, holding that toad aloft, too. That's what was so amazing, the toad, in the snake's grip, a full six inches above the ground.

I can imagine what that snake was telling its little friends, too, "It was [b>this big[/b>, and I [b>had it[/b>, until some pesky guy came along. Wouldn't leave me alone. Damn journalists!"

I don't recall, but I don't think that a garter snake can unhinge its jaw like a constrictor, and swallow that toad. I really do figure the toad was too much. But to see the snake carrying that critter up hill?

I''m reminded of impossible battles, and here was another example, in nature, about trying to fight the good fight. Ultimately, the snake let it go, but not after carrying that frog up the hill.

I'll try to rescue the images this weekend, but I'm not holding out high hopes.

Musical notes:
Then the Dead Kennedy's cycled up on the musical interchange. I really shold be listening to something a little more mature. Then again, maybe not.

Southern California:
Boom - boom (out go the lights)


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Dates and more
Dates? Coming up? 01:02:03 - 04/05/06? Just odd, means nothing. Or does it? Guess it really occurs twice, not to split seconds, but 1 AM or 1 PM?

Too wore out from travel and work to make much sense. One item bothered me, from Monday afternoon, I got flipped off by a driver. I just passed a gas station, and it looked like gas was as high as $2.80, so I can almost understand that lard butt's impatience with me. Almost. But I was crossing in the crosswalk, with the light, and the little "walk" sign was flashing to walk. Don't blame me for the other vehicles observing the law.

Self-fulfilling prophecy?

A quick dip in the springs, the water wasn't that cold, and then I wandered downtown to check the mail and grab some coffee. As one of the delightful baristas was cavorting with large iced tea jug, I made the day's fateful comment.

"Nice jug."

Much hilarity ensued.*


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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*One out of two agreed the comment was rather (dryly) amusing.

One more from the road
Breakfast? Pastry Chef. (German) Potato Pancakes. Traditional Mexican pastries, too. It's a combination of elements, which, I'd like to think, aren't normally found together.

Get Fuzzy redneck reference -

Robin floated me some kind of herbal remedy, a dose of energy in a little bottle, "Yeah, Ginseng and Royal Jelly," and assured me it wasn't harmful.

I gagged it down, then I asked what happened if I started to hallucinate, what would happen?

"Kramer, how could we - or your clients - tell the difference?"

Good point, I guess.

Business notes:
Too bad I didn't think about this earlier, but there was an article in some magazine about a class at, I think, West Point, about how teacher was challenging the class of soon-to-be officers about peace in the Mideast, the ethics of war.

As I recall, and I might have this a little wrong, but the article suggested the warriors were almost universally opposed to war - and violence - however, if ordered to fight a fight, they would do so with all they could command.

The business note, and in part this comes from working in towns like El Paso and San Antonio, but I should offer some discount to active military. That would be consistent with both good business practice and in keeping with my own philosophical outlook.

Many thanks to Grace the Psychic Lady for all the assistance.

"Even if you're going to live three thousand more years, or ten times that, remember: you cannot lose another life than the one you're living now, or live another one than the one you're losing. The longest amounts to the same as the shortest. The present is the same for everyone; its loss is the same for everyone; and it should be clear that a brief instant is all that is lost. For you can't lose either the past or the future; how could you lose what you don't have?

"Remember two things:

"i. That everything has always been the same, and keeps recurring, and it makes no difference whether you see the same things recur in a hundred years or two hundred, or in an infinite period;

"Ii. That the longest-lived and those who will die soonest lose the same thing. The present is all that they can give up since that is all you have, and what you do not have you cannot lose."

Marcus Aurelius Book II, #14

I might reread that quote and wonder what I was thinking - I'm sure it was noble, or something important at the moment. But I don't recall, now, rereading the notes. Something about late night flight back from El Paso.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Standing on El Paso time...
April First, April Fool's Day. Whatever, report from the front line. I'm guessing that I need a gratuitous shot from the El Paso Track Terminal. I don't have a lot of humor to report, it's just another day at work.

The scariest part of the weekend was Friday evening's drive. That, in and of itself isn't frightening. Usually, Grace or Bubba just toss me the keys to one of their rides, one of which, is a real redneck limo, diesel 350 with a flatbed full of welding gear, and the other is the little woman's ride, and it always smells nice. I return the favor by trying to leave a full tank of gas.

But one daughter is now merchant marine, and Friday morning, I had to use her ride, instead. Unbeknownst to me, it didn't have current registration, no inspection sticker, and no insurance, none of which would've bothered me, and, to be honest, I didn't know, nor was it mentioned, until I got to new Mexico - "Dude, no, I mean, in New Mexico, it won't matter, you've got valid Texas tags." Okay, sure.

But the ride home? I got in the slightly illegal vehicle, and one headlamp was burned out. My only complaint, really, has to do with the number of people actually going the speed limit: none. I did make it in under the radar, though. Safe and sound.

To a Pisces, "Don't play Koi with me."

This must be El Paso:
The place we went for dinner? "Special Lent Menu" but inside? The same menu items as always - it was a local chain, great stuff.

Forti et fideli nihil difficle.
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El Paso, one more time
Rigors of the road, and can I call it the road, if it's more about departure lounges and couch-surfing?

Two items, unrelated to each other. At all.
NASCAR meats, which really makes me wonder if I want fast bacon. I'm sure I'm missing a joke in there.

This quick bit was actually very related to being in El Paso since it addresses some of the concerns of real natives, but then, this is not a new issue for someone who spends any amount of time along the border, in border towns, or just South Texas in general.

File under stupid viral video:
Ad of some kind, and I liked the clip enough to check out the site. Never mind, just expensive housing, in London-town. But a cute clip. See what happens?

Carp fishing:
When I checked on Scott, Scorpio, Thursday morning, he'd just added another thirty-something pound carp to his total, definitely putting him in the hunt. I think, as of then, he was at the top of the leader board, and it looked like he was in the money for the week.

Astrology world:
That's just strange - the "fasten seatbelts" light was on, yet, as I bounced around in the back of the plane's galley, a client I hadn't seen in years was trying to catch up with me.

Scorpion's Sting:
There was a single scorpion loose in the house, it's been squashed now. This isn't a metaphor, or symbol, it was a little scorpion. Dead bug, now.

Which is why, as I was pulling on my boots, I remembered to tip the boots over before pulling them on, just to make sure someone didn't crawl in while I was asleep.

Little Texas:
Breezing in on a wing and prayer, I circled around to double-back to the coffee shop for a morning wake-up. "Milagro Coffee y Mas," and maybe I read that wrong, but that's what it looked. Last time I was through there, it was slow, sleepy and slightly understated. I must've hit rush hour Friday morning. It's that odd combination of ranchers, college students, and the "hard new Mexico line" that Joe Ely wrote a song about.

I kept thinking about that "hard New Mexico line" lyric. Got a song stuck in my head, and I wasn't even listening to music, just tires on the interstate, rolling along. High clouds, light breeze, sort of from a southerly direction the broken jawline of the mountains, off in the east, a thin layer of New Mexico red dirt hanging in the air.

I must have several decades' worth of experience in these lands - I had to grin at a certain boy scout ranch t-shirt. Been there, done that.

Mesilla Valley - the turn off for the Centre is by the Mesilla Valley Mall. But the name, without the "mall," it means something. Carries some kind of historical echo. There's a hard look to the people, a hard line to the stories, and maybe, the idea that "Everyone's just trying to survive" is the key.

Or maybe not. Humid day by their standards, incredibly dry by my lame Central Texas "I live on the river" standards. Point-of-view, I guess.

Finis coronat opus.
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Copyright 2006 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.

Copy this stuff without attribution? Doing so will unleash the hounds of hell. And a mean lawyer, which is probably more frightening. Besides, stealing is bad karma.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Copyright 2006 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.

Weekend update
Two points, only, (wait, read this Virgo scope from June, 2005) last week's big Carp deal. And upcoming at Bookpeople.

The big carp deal is exciting for me, as I get exposed to a number of fishermen, some from far-flung destinations, and I get hear fishing stories. And, as it turns out, our little lake, right here in the middle of downtown Austin, is one of the best places to fish for carp. Which, I might add, are considered a delicate sport fish by many people, world-wide. Not exactly native, but strong fish. Nor, for that matter, do the local carp enjoy good street cred.

Standing around under the First Street Bridge, Scott Edmonson was fishing. He's from Mass. Has one of those "Boston" accents, the heavy New England tone, indigenous to the frozen North East. I think the accent is a little rural, as in no quite Boston, but maybe a suburb, or points just a tad west of there. Or something. Them New England folks, they're okay, but who wants to go to Vermont, anyway? The event was put on by the American Carp Society, and the tournament has a fairly arcane set of rules, involving pegs, weights, fish-handling, and so forth.

I spoke with Scott several times, under the bridge. He was a wealth of information, and his three rods, 12-footers, each had his name on the butt-end. Custom rods can be pricey. I watched one time as heaved a long cast out. Another time, just as I wandered up, he was dripping sweat, his socks and sandals were wet and muddy, and he was clutching an apparently inert black bag. In the water.

He had just landed a big fish. Very big fish. Very pregnant big fish. Whale, to me. For the day, that put him back in the hunt for the big prize money. Earlier, he and his father had fished the team tournament, and his father had an unofficial state record. Since the fish wasn't weighed on certified scales, it didn't make it as a record, but allegedly, it was 45 pounds.

The American Carp Society - from various websites - what I've gleaned - there's a fair amount of protocol that goes with this kind of fishing. Like an "unhooking mat," which can be a simple, closed-cell foam pad, but the fish are treated gently, so as not to harm the wildlife. "Fish are friends, not food."

The pictures I took were done while the officials were present for the certified weigh-in for that fish. Both of the officials had clipped British accents. I didn't inquire, wasn't my place, I was almost late for dinner, but I did want to see what the behemoth weighed. Plus I enjoy the look of love in a fisherman's eye.

While he was standing in the water, gripping his bag of big fish, Scott was telling me a little about politics, and issues and so forth. He was personally against bow-hunting for carp, but the flip side of that question, he was also against outlawing bow-hunting.

Now, his secret bait for catching that fish? Much earlier he explained and gave me a whiff, opening a can under my nose. It smelled like a fruity rum drink, looked and smelled like there should be a tiny paper umbrella sticking out of the can of bait.

"Close to 6th Street," he joked. Or maybe he was serious. I don't understand Yankee subtleties.

One man's delicacy is another man's trash fish. Just goes to show (insert something witty here).

The official Texas State Record was caught in Austin, so I was assured.

(Scott Edmonson with his 36.6 pound carp.)

And sad, but true, I'll be when Christopher Moore will be here, in his words, "to pimp death."
Partial author listing, all recommended...
Practical Demon Keeping
Coyote Blue
Blood Sucking Fiends
Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
Island of the Sequined Love Nun
Lamb (Historical, hysterical, and very much recommended to anyone who's not an extremely devout Xtian)
Fluke (save the whales)
The Stupidest Angel (Xmas done right)
A Dirty Job

Chris Moore, from my limited interaction, is probably a whole ton of fun, and it looks like Bookpeople has the only Texas appearance for his book tour.

Since I'm at least passing familiar with his ouvre, and as such, I can make a couple of recommendations, besides buying them all, per the current Leo scope, Practical Demon Keeping, Lamb, and, of course, the most recent, which is a really fine bit of textual content about death, the old gods, San Francisco, with a touch of political satire, and my favorite, introducing the Beta Male, A Dirty Job.

Finis coronat opus.
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Random binary items
And one that's not binary, but first, a link to the taco plate update, a taco plate, a sequel, and a fish taco plate. For the Pisces, "Fear No fish."

Gratuitous Amazon linkage:
Yeah, well, buy something, if you're not sending me money. It's that simple. The links sometimes pay a percentage, which doesn't always amount to much, but every little bit helps. I was thinking about this because I got an Amazon payment notice, and the book (on the left), what with Amazon's discount policy, retail and so on, I'm making less than a dollar - in total - off the sale. Part of that is the associate commission and part of that is the actual profit. Combined? Less than a buck. And that sucks. But what are you going to do?

The only accounting practice I've ever encountered myself, that is similar to the amazon price structure, is the way Dell pays the sales people. That's one that I never did understand, and it seems to vary from moment to moment, as I've had to listen to clients and friends talk about the structure at the moment - mere mortals (like me) can't figure it out.

I do live like a monk, parts 1 & 2:
(who isn't really fat) called me a Shaolin Monk, then he elaborated a bit - but it was a good image and fir the scenario perfectly. Then, in reading, when I noted that I didn't archive my weekly video clips, I was told that I was like a Zen Monk. Like the sand paintings.

I do live like a monk. No, really. A monk with a fat cat.

Yes/No game:
|> The Rules:
|> 1. You can only say YES or NO!
|> 2. You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless
|> someone comments to the entry and asks.
|> (via

Taken a picture naked? No
Made out with a member of the same sex? No
Danced in front of your mirror? No
Told a lie? Yes
Gotten in a car with people you just met? Yes
Been in a fist fight? Yes
Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back? Yes
Been arrested? Yes
Left your house without telling your parents? Yes
Ditched school to do something more fun? Yes
Slept in a bed with a member of the same sex? No
Seen someone die? Yes
Kissed a picture? No
Slept in until 3? Yes
Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by? Yes
Played dress up? No
Fallen asleep at work/school? Yes
Felt an earthquake? No
Touched a snake? Yes
Ran a red light? Yes
Had detention? Yes
Been in a car accident? Yes
Pole danced? No
Been lost? No
Sang karaoke? No
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? Yes
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Yes
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? No
Kissed in the rain? No
Sang in the shower? No
Got your tongue stuck to a pole? No
Ever gone to school partially naked? No
Sat on a roof top? Yes
Played chicken? Yes
Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? No
Been told you're hot by a complete stranger? Yes
Broken a bone? No
Mooned/flashed someone? No
Forgotten someone's name? Yes
Slept naked? Yes
Blacked out from drinking? Yes
Played a prank on someone? Yes
Felt like killing someone? Yes
Made a parent cry? Yes
Cried over someone? Yes
Had sex more than 5 times in one day? Yes
Had/Have a dog? ? Yes
Been in a band? No
Drank 25 cokes in a day? Yes
Shot a gun? Yes

Know how hard it is not to editorialize and comment?

Why "open source" has an image problem?
sandals & ponytails are bad for business?

Forti et fideli nihil difficle.
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Fish on!
I looked out the door, the clouds parted, there was a ray of sunlight, no more wet stuff falling from the skies, the river's a torpid mess of flotsam, and it's perfect for a quick angle.

Little fish, small fish, medium fish, and finally, a single large fish.

Two-Meat Tuesday
Book and more. Rain day, to some, and it's not like the thunder boomers and sheeting rain is not entirely unwelcome, although, it does mess with my plans. But not too much.

How much?
How does that song go?
Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed
Poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed
Then one day he was shooting for some food,
And up through the ground come a bubbling crude
(Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea) - Flatt & Scruggs

As noted before, I've been wondering about the amount of oil that goes into everyday events. I don't have the link at the moment, but a while back, on the net someplace, there was an article that pointed out that a big, honking Ford Diesel pick-up running bio-diesel had a smaller ecological footprint than one of those cute, sexy hybrid cars. Then, while it was raining, and while I was avoiding work, I stumbled across an article that detailed just how much oil went into breakfast.

I didn't fact check, or contact the author, and that makes some of the material - perhaps - a little suspect. But it's an engaging question.

My coffee wasn't fancy Left Coast stuff, but I think there's a fair-trade sticker on the bean's bag. The oatmeal was plain, American, from a bulk package, and the electricity was probably generated with natural gas, from either the plant just east of here, or, perhaps at little further east of here, but both those plants, as far as I know, are gas-fired.


Assuming it's that branded, "fair-trade" coffee, and as corporations go, it does have a decent reputation, the cup is only about "10% post-consumer waste" recycled material, and that means the other 90% is from dead trees. Plus the plastic top? Probably 50% of the material in the lid originated in the Middle East, and the cup's coatings? Again, 50% from over there. Energy used to farm, raise, harvest, package, transport, repackage, roast, and sell retail, for those beans? Good guess, but I'd put that at close to 50%.

Point being? Maybe I don't have a point. Just wondering, how much oil is used, even on morning when the rain and thunder drives me inside?

Books - A Dirty Job:
[style=floatpicleft][/style] Literary invention is good. Some of the Christopher Moore filler material refers to the author as a "cult hero," and I wouldn't argue that. His material is fresh, slightly off-center, and in his latest, A Dirty Job, there's the invention of a new term. Maybe it's been around. Maybe it's one of those pop-culture items that I miss, living, as I do, in a bucolic little backwater town.

Behold: the Beta Male. Everything an Alpha Male isn't, and more, much more. Running gags are hard, like living in a trailer park, and Moore has a knack with characterization that makes me weep. And laugh. Important, too. Finally, I'm thinking, as a Beta Male, we have a hero.

Most of Moore's work is pretty good, and of the lot, the only one I'm less enamored of is Fluke, but that one delves into a little too much "magical realism" for my limited world-view. On the other side of that, though, there's his other work that does involve vampires, myth, magic, Jesus and the supernatural - and to me - that stuff is pretty much normal, everyday material. Less "magical realism" and more just a part of my day-to-day life and experience.

So make death funny. Laugh at death? There's a weird kind of vibe with the book, something in the rhythm of the text that is gothic and macabre, and yet, at the same time, there's a thin satirical edge. Plus mirth.

So, yeah, death is funny that way.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Eclipse notes:
Astrology is the supporting cause for the site, so I figured, as long as I wasn't being productive, I could be productive. My ephemeris said "March 29, 2006, 10:12 PM GMT, 4 degrees, 7 minutes Aries, Total Solar Eclipse." Unless I'm reading it wrong, and I'm not usually concerned with minutia like minutes and so forth. Since I work on a weekly schedule, not a minute-by-minute method, I tend to look at how an event will impact a large population, as described by individuals.

My own software shows the eclipse at 4:11 AM, local time.

As noted before, I think this week's audio / video message captures the spirit rather well.

Studies have shown?
So the idea is, according to material I once saw presented, or read on the web someplace, that the best day send out commercial - and uncommercial - email is Tuesday.

Monday is reserved for catching up from the weekend, and Tuesday is the perfect day because an item can linger in the inbound mail stack, and still get attention, either Tuesday, Wednesday or even Thursday.

I had brief experiment with e-mailing the horoscopes on Tuesday, but the march of UCE, the filters, the bounces and so forth, was too much to worry about. There is no active mailing list, at this time, for that very reason. The usual culprits were the "free" mail servers, like Hotmail, and lately, AOL. But it's still a problem, and one I'm not willing to toy with.

However, consider my own action and reaction to some mail. Two companies send out a Tuesday notice of sales and so forth. One of them I watch because I have to pay my own way, and I have to shop for the best deals. The other one is from a site I've ordered from in the past, but I have no real intention of ordering anytime too soon. Not much of a priority in my life at this moment. Still, I glance at the electronic notices, and I tend to click through to the websites, just for a glance. Random amount of time, usually one click and a single scrolling action, maybe 30 seconds, for a total of a minute or two, each week. But I might not even check if I didn't get the notice.

Developing story?
A quick note from up yonder (Oklahoma is still OK, tho.)

Hot Air:
Here's the tree huggers. (Wait, am I one of them?)

More hot air:
I got to digging around in the "saved" e-mail file, looking for some messages I was meaning to answer, and then, I got stuck looking at hate mail from a few years ago. That's good for a few minutes' worth of wretched despair and mental anguish.

And furthermore:
I do live like a monk. I don't care what they say.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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If you are what you eat?
Just random Bluebonnets, visible in parts of SE Texas.

Sign of the times:
"If you are what you what you eat? Then I'm fast, cheap and greasy."

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Road notes
"I don't suffer from any recognized mental illnesses."

Which, in my mind, begs the question, any unrecognized illnesses? This being Austin, where our mantra is "Keep Austin Weird," that question wold be open to debate.

Musical notes:
Couldn't have said it better myself. (NSFW)

Ease of use:
When a picture is worth many words. (And why I use a Mac, too.)

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!

Requiem & Phoenix
Easy come, easy go: Dancing Moon in San Antonio, a "healing center," or, to me, a metaphysical-oriented bookstore with rooms for consultations with various readers, healers, fakirs, and so forth, is shuttering its doors.

I had to go by and try to pick up the few items I'd left behind in the last year, a printer, a couple of books on consignment, some flyers and business cards, not much, really.

I spoke with the real owner, the person in charge, by phone, last week some time, and I was ready for what was going to happen, having been given advanced notice via e-mail. There are the supposed five stages of grief, and the boss, when I last spoke with her, she was still at that "pissed off" state.

Not that I can blame her, either, pour tons of money, time and precious energy into a dream, and then found out that the dream isn't going to make it, not financially. It's that old bottom line - and that kills the artist every time. Kills the artist and artistry, too, in the example of the bookstore.

And Dancing Moon really wasn't much of a bookstore, it was primarily a healing space. As a professional reader, I loved it because the spirit was high, the rates were low, and the location sucked. But I could easily overcome that location problem; although, to be honest, it was in the middle of nowhere, N. San Antonio - "close to Randolph (Air Force Base)" isn't really much of a claim.

Having been in business for years, having run several small companies, I can more than appreciate the problems, successes and failure associated with an endeavor like Dancing Moon. Unlike many, though, I'm not about to say, "Do this," or "should've done that," because I've discovered that the world is full of people who know how to run my business better than me. And are too scared of themselves to try to do it themselves.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Road trip! Bass Pro in Houston, anybody?

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Dancing Moon is closing, and without your support, this site could close, too. If you read the scopes and don't pay? Would that make you a soul-sucking, bottom scraping freeloader destined to push this site into failure and foreclosure, too?

Art show
I'm not even sure what it was. The e-mail included a press release that I neglected to read, and then, only later, wished I'd read so I'd have a some kind of clue. But being clueless has never interfered in the past....

"Like, can you come and do readings? I don't think you can charge $100 each, but you could probably make some good money, and, it's like for a charity."

Or something.

However, it was amusing, and the quality of the participants in whatever it was? That was good. I must assume, any regular denizen - or even casual visitor - will recognize the venue from the sign in the foyer. Heh, "foyer"? Not exactly what I would call it.

One of the pictures hung in the green room, where I wound up, was eerily familiar, like, I'd seen it in the past couple of days someplace. Only, according to the artist himself (Gemini), he'd only painted it that afternoon. Weird, that's all. Must've dreamed it or something. Thought I saw it on a website, or in coffee shop. Who knows? Out of time experience.

His little (cute) blond (Taurus) girlfriend kept telling me that he was an introvert, but I watched as he unlimbered while talking about what his paintings meant. He was eloquent, with a good command of the language and understanding of the nuances. Plus, I thought, anyway, pretty decent work, and ultimately, the work should speak for itself.

"Everyone has a passion," he was explaining, "you just have to be brave enough follow it."

I ducked out the back gate, just a little before midnight. I plugged in some earphones and made quick, long strides to get home. Not minutes after I got in the door, the faint patter of raindrops on a tin roof echoed.

Timing is everything.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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Benito Juarez & Chis Moore books
These are two items that are wholly unrelated. But then, a rambling journal like this, it's okay.

Maybe once or twice a month, I'll actually buy a newspaper to read with my lunch. I discovered, by accident, that the Houston Chronicle, is, half dollar for half dollar, a damn fine piece of newsprint. Better than the local fodder, and superior to the much vaunted Dallas Morning News, which, according to one neighbor, is the best paper between the coasts.

Tuesday afternoon, in the wan winter sun, I didn't make it much past the story in the about Mexico's Benito Juarez.

Folk hero, political hero, man of myth and mystery, and like some of our historical figures, attributed with more power than he really had. Not that it matters, I just found it an engaging slant on a story - coming from a town where they were having trouble with the proposed name of the sports team.

Update - Benito Juarez:
Well, so the Houston Chronicle link broke, but it was good article, I suppose, about the folk hero, first native Presidente, usurped the Catholic Church's power, and currently presents a unified myth akin to both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. But the article did point out that it might also be a lot of myth.

(No segue is available at this time.)
Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
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A Dirty Job:

It's the new Chris Moore book. Previously, I've particularly loved two novels out of his collection, Lamb and his weird Xmas story.

I also suspected that those two previous efforts would be hard to top. However, in just the first fifty pages or so of A Dirty Job, I was giggling. Perhaps that's one way to judge a book, if the cat rolls over with a rheumy eye and tells me to STFU - she was sleeping on my chest - it's a good sign if my giggling bothers the sleeping feline form.

I really shouldn't give away too much, but there's a new definition, the Beta Male, and here's part of the description.

"While Alpha Males are often gifted with superior physical attributes - size, strength, speed, good looks - selected by evolution over the eons by the strongest surviving and, essentially, getting all the girls, the Beta Male gene has survived not by meeting and overcoming adversity, but by anticipating and avoiding it. That is, when the Alpha Males were out charging after mastodons, the Beta Males could imagine in advance that attacking what was essentially an angry, wooly bulldozer with a pointy stick might be a losing proposition, so they hung back at camp to console the grieving widows." (page 31)

There's really about two pages of "Beta Male" description, heaping funny upon amusing, and making me laugh. And although it's from a slightly whacked author, high praise here, I found it gratifying and it kept me engaged.

As previously noted, there's an irreverent authorial attitude. A sense of whimsy, and as a working writer, I admire Moore's work.

Two-meat Tuesday's platter
Happy Aries:Two phone consultation, Monday night, and this is weird: One was with the sun in Pisces, and the other was with the sun in Aries. Local time, adjusted. (Tipping) Points, revisited: I was looking for something else, and stumbled across an older older post with that title. But it wasn't what I was looking for.

All about ugly websites.

Why we like catch and release fishing.

And I'd bury this in s a scope, but no one would get it, a Chaucer blog in Middle English, which, in and of itself, was a cause of mirth. Lyle Lovett: Caught my eye the other afternoon, a notation that one Lyle Lovett album was close to the top on a top ten list. Then, on an iTunes celebrity playlist, again, near the top.

Dollar for dollar, and this one where the iTunes collection sorely lacks, Lovett's Step Inside This House deserves recognition. First off, it's a double CD set. Secondly, it effectively spans and covers several decades of musical influences. Cover songs, really, that's all it is. But the style and musical qualities, plus the enclosed artwork, makes it great stuff. Finally, as I understand it, Lyle Lovett is Scorpio. It's got to be great. The Flat Earth: Pa Wetzel passed on a copy of the book, The World is Flat, to me, and I was reading it the other evening. I found one passage rather disturbing, though, around pages 39-40, wherein the author was observing at a military base in our current war zone. Three screens displayed images - live video feed - from an airborne drone. The fourth screen had baseball game on.

I appreciate that the Marines and Infantry are risking their lives to preserve freedom. I wasn't comfortable with the author's analogy between sports and war-time. That seemed to trivialize the war. High School football, on a fall Friday evening in Texas? Life and death. Professional baseball? I don't find that as serious as the current conflict. However, that could just be my take on the analogy, and I might have misunderstood the point the author was striving to reach. That Libra flavor: Mentioned Pa Wetzel (Libra), and I was in the bookstore, looking at rough, lonely travel on $5-a-day guides to London 2006 because I'll be going for a little trip to celebrate a June wedding anniversary - in London - this coming June. He called. Another Libra called. I called another Libra. The new Chris Moore book is in stores now, and that author is Libra. Just weird. French lessons: The rowers are out on the river these days, and I noticed that one of the Cincinnati teams had a special tri-color set of oar paddles. Looked like the French flag. At first, I worried about political affiliations, and how that kind of flag-waving might be unpopular, but then, Austin (East Austin) is home to an old French Embassy, yes, France recognized Texas as a country.

I stopped at one coffee shop downtown and there was a quartet of gentlemen standing at the counter, nattering on in French, looking at coins, trying to figure them out. I pointed out - in proper French with a correct accent - that those were quarters, worth Van-Sank pesos.

The quartet, probably real Frenchmen, all ordered tiny cups of espresso. I have a mild regret that I didn't get to stretch my French some more, but it was nice to listen, and nice to point out that some of us do speak their language. Which, I have to add, is a really pretty language. Even bad words sound nice, in French.

My only problem with cussing in French is that it lacks the visceral catharsis of its English, Anglo-Saxon counterparts.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Predictions (as a business):
The truth of the matter, I recorded the weekly audio/video feed [b]before[/b] I left town.

I left the files lingering on a hard drive, and I got around to the upload and update process Monday morning. As I was doing a final sound check, I was amazed. Either I'm really predictable, or the situations at hand fit a very predictable pattern.

I was marveling at myself, happens frequently when I do this, I scared myself. As I watched and listened to me streaming off the streaming off the site, I thought about the travel interruptions from the previous evening.

Midland-Odessa's airport to Austin's airport is only about 30 minutes' flight time. The flight was on time until 20 minutes before the scheduled departure. Then it was a comical series of interruptions and miscues.

I had that cup of coffee. The plane was three hours late. It was a bumpy ride.

I missed the last bus. I had a scary cab driver who didn't speak much English. Nor Spanish. A torrential deluge hit just as we turned towards town. Eventually, I threw him a twenty and crawled into bed with my mistress (the cat: remember, I live like a monk).

Everything takes three tries, lasts three times as long, and whatever can go awry, will.

What was different from the 'cast cast, is that I was totally unperturbed at most of the events. There was a loud and annoying man, I think a high school physics teacher, a few rows behind, and he started to debate to relative merits of Shakespeare versus science. I was too tired to join in; one "Plan II" student was engaged, and losing, I'm guessing. He clutched a copy of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

I remembered what TFG had written about a stretch of Texas highway unspooling while listening to Hank III's second side to the new album, and I searched, but I couldn't find the untitled cut on my traveling music thing. Bummer. Then there's just something missing when flying as opposed to riding in a truck. Not the same feeling.

I'm starting to get notes from the one of the places I graduated from, classified as CLAS: College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. In my mind, Physics and Shakespeare belong together. Math without exposure to art is useless, but then, art without any science is also meaningless. After a full day of clients, though, and travel disruptions, I was in no condition to make a case. And while I don't agree with everything that Bloom writes about Shakespeare and the Invention of the Human, I do agree, at least least on some philosophical levels, with the concept.

But I would take Thersites (Shakespeare's Troilus & Cressida) over Falstaff (King Henry IV, part I & II) most days. Or evenings.

"Ah, from Phoenix to Tulsa to the Astro Dome;
New York City down to San Antone;
There’s boys that are ridin’ for legendary fame,
And our money’s all gone but we ride just the same."

Radney Foster, Texas in 1880 (?)

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!

And let me say this about .

West Texas waltz
Sunday morning, first it was the sound of a train, a long freight, rolling through town, the lonesome horn and rattle of the tracks echoing in the motel's vents. Minutes later, rain. Again.

Another name?
VD: by any other name? Singles' Awareness Day (thanks to an Aquarius).

The pawn shop is no longer there, but the sign remains the same?

Big sky:
Passed it on the way to the airport, the rain clouds were just clearing up, and I hastily scribbled the name of the place, "Big Sky Drive-In." I wished I'd had a chance for a picture, but I was in a hurry to catch that last flight out. Only, Sunday night? Due to weather patterns - Texas weather is like Texas women - very unpredictable - some of the flights were late. At the last reading of the day, I looked at the female, her chart, and I asked if my plane was on time. She said it was. Beats calling the airline, the airport, the online services. She wasn't 100% right, but then, none of us are: 10 minutes late.

I found this out at the check-in, which I waltzed right up to. I'm used to there being a line. No one. Three girls leisurely lounging behind the counter. I made a polite comment about how nice it was that there was no line. One of the attendants looked at me, smiled, suggested I "should've been here half an hour earlier. Sheer madness. I need to start smoking again."

With enough time to kill a few minutes, passing through security, I poked into the departure lounge dining area, and I noted that there was an espresso machine behind the counter. I asked if they could do a quick shot, make it a double, and sure enough, I wound up with large cup of espresso, about four shots by my standards. Maybe six.

I looked at it, "Every thing's bigger in Texas, huh?"

I was guessing I could fly the plane to Austin, and back on that much caffeine.

"If you are flying to Dallas, the last flight is this one. It will be leaving at 8:45. This will be the gate."

There's a whole bunch of gibberish that didn't make it. I was typing as the plane was bouncing up and down, the battery went dead, and all is lost. From the notes, though, there was Her Honor (Leo), a typical fiery Aries, and myself, talking Texas, and comparing notes.

"Look honey, I've lived through on tornado, and doppler radar can direct the pilot. I'll be fine. I love you." There was another comment about how old she was, but I'm going to not report that one.

What doesn't make any sense? Something about Post, Texas. I didn't get it.

5. How to act:
Never under compulsion, out of selfishness, without forethought, with misgivings.
Don't dress up your thoughts.
No surplus words or unnecessary actions.
Let the spirit in you represent a man, an adult, a citizen, a Roman, a ruler. Taking up his post like a soldier and patiently awaiting his recall from life. Needing no oath or witness.
Cheerfulness. Without requiring other people's help. Or security supplied by others.
To stand up straight - not straightened.
Marcus Aurelius,
Meditations, Book Three, #5.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Working weekend
Life of as road warrior, some days, some nights.

Ghost stories:
When Darkness Falls San Antonio (area) ghost stories. So far? I hate this book. Maybe I don't hate it, but I certainly can't recommend it as either a good source for ghost stories, paranormal question abstracts, or even for a readable writing style. Even the typeface and layout annoys me. Style, content, and substance all lacking? Not that it ever bothered me, but for one, I'm stuck in a motel in West Texas, and for two, I'm spending enough time in San Antonio to warrant some research. But that book was a bad call. Another example of good marketing but miserable content.

They were sayin'
"Yessir," (extra sibilance and make sure them vowels are long, drawn out, and twangy) "there was snow up near Abilene. I was tellin' them, they wuz snow clouds all-righty."

It rained Saturday night, for a few minutes. Seemed like it was both big news and a big problem, maybe an hour's worth of rain. An hour's worth of rain left the streets flooded.

And from back in Austin?
Willie as an outlaw?

(Actually, yes, but then that's just me.)

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

More random travel notations:
Musical travel notes:
"The politics of dancing - the politics of feeling good"
The Re-flex (no link)

With songs on iTunes going for 99 cents, is $9.99 too much for a song? Yes and no.

The only place I've been able to locate a copy of that one song is on a cheesy compilation set, "1980 New Wave." To me, it's more than that. Or less than that, pop from 20 years ago? 25 years ago? I think I've dated women younger than the song. But considering the effort I've put into it, finding that one song, buying a whole set for one song? It was worth it. Clean, clear digital song file now. Legally mine.

Interstellar Overdrive seemed just right for west-bound aircraft.

"I'm a long gone daddy." (Hank Williams)

E-mail commentary:
"Well, in my limited experience, males are irrational about 60% of the time. The rest of the time? They're usually asleep."

That's just weird:
Three-way fire action on Friday morning - started with an Aries reading, then an Aries girl came by to pick me up for lunch and ride me to the airport. While waiting on the badges to get out of our way, on Lower Congress, we walked a few steps and street vendor took one look at me, "I know you!"

Sagittarius. Sort of strange, the Aries by by my side, addressing, looking at lingerie. I started fielding questions, the way I usually I do, "What's up with this, what's that," and so on. I was offered money, clothing, and other things, I'm guessing, but we hastened back to make our luncheon appointment. I don't know what the rush was, plane was late. Not like it matters, either.

"See Kramer? You just know everyone."

I'd protest, but when I did a tuck and roll at the airport's terminal, as I got up and brushed myself off, the baggage handler said hello, "Where is it you're going today? El Paso? Dallas?"

Midland. Midland - Odessa.

Two points, on the way in to the hotel: one was a billboard ad. Now, waiting for the suitcases to drop, why is it the smaller the airport, the longer it takes, anyway, there was typical cowboy looking feller, boots, dirty jeans and ball cap, and the jeans were tucked into the boots. Means a working guy. So the billboard? It shows boots, spurs, barb wire, but the jeans are bellbottoms - outside the boots. In cowboy country? I wonder if it flies, or if there's a hidden ironic message.

The shuttle driver? "Hey, you're here for that psychic thing."

Alongside the highway, just off the interstate, there's a new marquee - certainly wasn't here last time I was - it's a [b]new[/b] Drive-In. A movie drive-in. New.

I commented, and the driver replied, "Yeah, it's packed every weekend."

Traffic spike:
About Austin.
(Hint: it's referred to as "irony," in its truest form.)

Hat tip:
TFG. One cool (insert appropriate terminology here).

There's something ultimately satisfying about the gentle twang as I settled into the Permian Basin cadence of language..

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

A lot of random stuff
It's just random crap, culled from the web and my disjointed mind, and I was hoping I could get through the week with no further mention of the local mania, that little music thing going on. But I can't.

Pepper spray:
Pepper kills some cancer cells. But 400 milligrams? I wonder how much chili that takes?

West Texas notes:
Shooter Jennings, Kevin Fowler, Billy Joe Shaver, Gary P. Nunn? All in March at Dos Amigos in Odessa (Ector County).

Reading notes:
Could've been the late hour, could've been a number of other factors, like, the series is pretty good at myth and erases the fine line between this world and some other place, but Rudolofo Anaya's Jemez Spring did bring a tear to my eye.

I can't say I can recommend this sort of novel for most people, as there's a wealth of literary allusions, more so in the last novel, that combines Eastern, Western, Northern European, Native, Biblical, Meso-American, just about any kind of tradition, plus smattering of New Age smirking that's just lurking beneath the surface.... But I enjoyed it thoroughly. However, I did back up and reread two previous novels, sort of in a series, and I never did find the one passage I was searching for.

I'm keeping all five of the books in my library, but then, I've lived in that land, bounced through there a time or two, and still have affection for the area. It's good material, rich enough - for my tastes - to reread on occasion.

Can these really be true? Have we sunk that low?

From the inbound afternoon mail:
>So your scope was so ... exactly.
>I'm listening to that Come Monday song right now.

(And an Aries note like that makes me grateful.)

In the night, a dark barked:
Subtitle: Two-part harmony
[style=floatpicright]image[/style]I rounded the corner from the trailer park's convenience store, wondering if I had enough quarters for a newspaper - the Houston Chronicle is still the most entertaining - and a fairly clean-cut looking guy stands up, shakes my hand, I think, and we proceed to talk about music, beer & bait. Sand bass in Texoma (lake). And many more items. Taurus, married to a Sagittarius, who, I must add, is quite the enthusiastic "little woman." Her Duchess? Was that the correct moniker? Made my day to put a face with a web log.

Endless energy, but then, visitors are like that. We eventually hopped in the truck, and promptly got lost on the way to another venue, wherein his wife did join us, and they proceeded to have technical difficulties with equipment.

One band was sawing through a set, which was more like about three songs, then three more songs with two - looked like - baritone saxophones. The act we'd come to see jumped up on stage, ran through three numbers or so, and then called it a day.

During the set change, the singular comment that was both poignant and funny, see this one band from Ft. Worth, the lead is this kid, strong vocals, good guitars, good music, and it's basically roots rock, whatever that means, and there's pedal steel guitar - seemed a lot older than the rest of the band.

"Yeah, that's his dad, sort of hard to say, 'this isn't your father's rock and roll,' now don't it?"

I walked home along the ill-fated railroad right-of-way, and considered stopping off at a number of places, but I never made it. When I finally got home, I looked through the inbound mail, and certain friend has just suffered a traumatic experience, and she didn't bother to call, just e-mail, so I called her up.

After venting and so forth, I fixed a web page problem for her, and then she decided on dinner.

"But where can we go that doesn't have any badges?"
"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" (Treasure of the Sierra Madre)

East Austin. Better yet, a little place I know in East Austin where we were the only native English speakers. Made for some good evening tacos.


Westward Ho!
No more red-eye to West Texas, but a bona-fide afternoon .

More time than money
Just the way it goes, some days.

C & C
It's an old term, to me, about compare and contrast.

Wednesday morning I headed out to meet a client. We were getting together at a coffee place, noted for it's "leftist leaning liberal" policies. Vegan food. No meat in the place at all. Sort of scruffy, with that neo-hippy flavor to just about everything: ambiance, music, political notices. Really good food, too, but that's just my opinion.

Thursday, by way of contrast, I'll be heading towards a BBQ place, get me some seared animal flesh, and hang out with a Republican buddy. We'll talk music. Beer, bait and ammo.
Yee- (something) -haw. Really good food, but that's just my opinion.

West Texas has its own, special flavor. It's Western, yes, that's true, but not the arching canyon-lands of Arizona. Nor the stark beauty of Northern New Mexico. I was reading about the area, actually, reading about Southeastern New Mexico, and I found a reference that called SE NM "Little Texas." Apt nomenclature, in my mind.

The singular memory was a Kettle Restaurant. Loved the chain, back in its day, and the one outside the hotel? Regrettably, it had changed. It's now, or was, a car dealership of some kind. Too bad, used to be good food. Good road food, anyway.

Unconnected music notes:
iTunes for audiophiles?

Connected musical notes:
I was updating an iPod as a travel accessory, Same problem as before, wouldn't write to the iPod. Erase, reformat, creative use of language. Search the web for a clear and concise set of instructions. Search again. Finally give up, and start rearranging wires on the desk. Finally, on a whim, sort of a last effort, I tried a different cable. Problem fixed.

Begs a question, though, how can a simple set of wires encased in hermetically sealed white plastic go bad? If it was the hardware, I could understand that, jogging around with me, but this was just a set of ires that have lived on the desk for the last couple of years. No abuse. Not even much use. Well, some use, but no abuse. How does a simple wire connector go bad?

Wait, wait, I know, I do astrology, stars and stuff, it's Mercury. Right, whatever. I'm not buying it.

Die hipster scum:
I'd forgotten about that one, until I pulled a scrap of paper from my wallet, with that notation. T-shirt, on a Pisces. Earlier reading? Pisces. Another coffee friend? Complaining about? Pisces. Hat I had on? "Fear no fish."

Fish on!
Just an afternoon idle. Really, it turned too cold for my pleasure, but I was out, and two fish were dutifully hauled up for photo-ops. Hungry, fighting fish. The first one even jumped back in the lake before I had a chance to gently place her back home. Kept the bait, too. Some people.





"I've been beat up bad, been kicked around, been thrown out of every bar in this damn town..."
Thrown Out of the Bar - H3

"Sometimes, I'm wired, and sometimes, I'm tired, but I'm doing the best that I can."
Not Everybody Like Us - H3.

Straight to Hell.

Lyrical notes:
SXSW is tedious, at best. Monday evening, over something chicken-fried, I was listening to a Leo from Dallas expound about various topics. In the background, in another room, a country band was sawing through their set.

"I like it when they ads horns to country," that Leo was observing.

He then questioned me about the new Hank III CD set, along the lines of, is it really any different or better than the earlier work?

Immediate answer is "yes and no," it's of the same vein, only different. It wasn't until a day later, when one of the new tunes cycled up on the old iPod, that I snapped to the conclusion, it's about the material itself. The medium, the message, and that spark I sensed a few years ago.

Take one part punk, and I don't mean commercial "punk," but part of that essence of the original outlaw Sex Pistols, and then put it with a "deep-south" type of traditional - unplugged - musical flavor. Mix well.

Lyrical and musically accomplished. And crude. Rude, crude and socially unacceptable. Yeah, my kind of art.

I've got a bootleg of the Austin show I was at, some years ago. There's a very rebellious urgency in the music. Or, as I classified it the time, "Old school punk played with a pedal steel, stand-up bass, fiddle and guitar."

The latest H3? Just keeps getting better. The first time I saw Hank III, I was moved like I haven't been moved by music in a long time. Spark, essence, and an accomplished musical talent, doing it his way.

Besides spending formative years listening to "outlaw" Texas music, I kept trying to figure out why H3 is so appealing to me. In part, musically, it embraces a very traditional kind of music, more roots than most people wold realize. But in part, too, it's about not being part of the machine.

That's why I fit with it so well. I've been classified as too Texan by some, too rural by others, too effete by some, and not enough real astrology by a few. I hit the iTunes directory for podcasts, and I looked up astrology. There was one that was humor, and then several that we slickly produced, but once again, they all offered the exact same advice, or muddied the waters with too much technical jabber that was just that - filler.

Reminded me about a professor I studied under. He professed that he wanted us students to learn the art of synthesis, and yet, that one professor, he only really wanted his own material properly regurgitated. No synthesis.

Perhaps that's a problem, too, I want you to think for yourself, just like me.

As I'm fond of saying, usually in a reading, to address a certain astrological signature, "Think outside the box? What box? Where? Did I miss something?"

What I look like?

"Short squatty guy with a crewcut, right?"

[b]That[/b] was funny. I look like a "long-hair leaping gnome."

SXSW Guidelines redux
In the spirit of cooperation, I figured up a couple of quick, handy tips for folks who are visiting Austin, perhaps for a first time, just some helpful hints.

I'll also make a couple of assumptions, like, you have at least one mobile phone, and that you are equipped with at least one device that uses WiFi. Otherwise, why are you here? What? Analog music, like I'm so sure. That'll just never fly. As previously noted, some of the places in town do have a two-phone minimum.

Another point is coffee etiquette. Go to Starbucks. Just as an example, there's a Bucky's in the Capital Complex, another at 10th (& Congress), another at 6th (& Congress), another at the hotel at what used to be 1st (& Congress), plus, if you want to live on the wild side, there's one South of the River, down Congress. Always, even if you just buy a cup of stinking coffee, never tip the person behind the counter. Just trust me on this, okay? As long as you've got on a badge and/or talk with a funny accent? No need to tip well.

Starbucks has branded WiFi. Use it. It's only like, about $4 per hour, and I think it's cheaper than the milk drinks they fix, so make sure you've got a credit card handy. The advantage is you know that no Austin thief will break into the Starbucks WiFi. You're safe. Always practice safe internet. Wear condoms, too.

Places to eat? Eschew what the local people, like myself, do. Head for a safe place, like a chain. The local places might have dubious health practices, and some of the food will indubitably upset your delicate constitution. Our food is not like you're used to. It's too hot, too spicy, too vegan or too meaty. At one place, the goal is to fit as many farm animals on the plate as possible. Vegans, despair not, even the major chains are used to the local populace and can be accommodating for your protein-starved diet.

In all places, and I can't stress this enough, stay well-clear of the hot sauce. Burns going in, burns coming out, either way. If looks like it might have peppers in it? Don't touch it, "it burns, it burns!"

We can be pretty nice folks, but if we don't have a badge or wristband? Don't count on accuracy. Cab fare from the airport to downtown? Should run about 40 or 50 bucks. You'll get a nice tour of trailer parks, a honky-tonk and maybe a catfish parlor. Goes with the countryside. Don't even think of venturing into such places, though, you might not like the results.

Trinkets, ornaments, and tattoos:
Want to really blend in? Buy a cowboy hat. There are a veritable plethora places that sell the stressed straw cowboy hat. Get one of those, and ladies? Fashion tip: pink is better. Pink is the new black with straw cowboy hats. You can bet you'll look just like one of us with those things on. Check the label, too, make sure you're not getting taken advantage of, make sure that it was made in China or Taiwan. If the hat was handmade in Texas? You probably paid too much. And if it has a label that says, "Hecho a mano en Mexico"? Again, you're just supporting some third world economy built on dubious labor practices.

Finally, a really good tattoo place is usually located right in the heart of the entertainment district. Get something like Texas flag, or the Seal of Texas, or better yet, a seal of Texas with a Texas flag backdrop, surrounded by the outline of the state. A permanent reminder of how much fun you're having, while standing in line to get into a venue to hear some band from your home state. Or country. Whatever.

There is only one source for reliable information. Okay, there are two sources, the only two place to get up-to-date information, the Austin-American Statesman & the Austin Chronicle. No other media outlets are reliable. No other media outlets can be trusted for true facts, in the interest in fair, balanced and reasoned judgement calls. Most important? Don't trust indy media. These guys know nothing. And bloggers? Especially the local ones? Since they lack training, well, it goes without saying, be suspect of the information.

Beer & Liquor:
Stuck to what's safe. Jose Cuervo, and something like Bud. Or Miller Light? The local brews, say, Shiner Bock? We're pretty sure it's not to your liking. Best if you just leave it alone. So stick to something safe, a label that you can trust, and it's probably better if you drink it out of a can.

Chill out:
Like an oasis in the middle of a swanky, yet funky urban environment, there's always Barton Springs. As a chance to cool off, chill out, and hang with the locals, it's a great place in the summer months. But this is still the spring, and it's sutill cool at night; therefore, avoid Barton Springs and the near freezing waters.

So the hot tip here is to take a dip in the lake itself. River, actually, as it is the Colorado River. Yes, that's the name. For those of you not too good with geography, that's the name of the river that cut the Grand Canyon, too. Same river?

Some of the hotels have pools, but a carefully observant out-of-town visitor will note that the water supply for Austin is the Colorado River, so it's both safe to drink, and it's safe to swim in. You're cordially invited to skip the pool-side at the hotel and "go native" in the lake.

In review:
1. Dining - stick to "safe" chains.
2. Coffee - only Starbucks.
3. Pink cowboy hat.
4. Tattoo.
5. Mainstream media - only.
7. Don't drink the water.
8. Jump in the lake.

Can I get a "hell yeah!" You're just like one of us, now.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

"Everything that happens is either endurable or not. If it's endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining. If it's unendurable.... Then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well. Just remember: you can endure anything your mind can make endurable, by treating it as in your interest to do so. In your interest, or in your nature."
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. Book Ten, #3

Leftover notation (1):
It's all part and parcel of being doing business in an unregulated, and basically, ungoverned business, with no guidelines. Or none that I would really adhere to, other than basic common sense.

I got feedback, from two different people at the bookstore, about something that occurred a few weeks ago, on my last visit. What was weird, the feedback was equally good and bad, or damning and affirming.

Same complaint about me, only, in one case, I was praised for handling a situation and in another, I was slapped (metaphor) for the same response. One incident, two different opinions.

Just weird, that's all - don't you hate that?

Leftover notation (2):
Kevin Fowler: "We play this song, well, I'm up here, and I like Charlie Daniels so I get to play the song."

Between appointments, meetings and other duties, like the current audio/video message, there was a chance to fish. What was hurting me the most, though, there was a much larger fish chasing, but not taking, the bait. But some days, any fish is better than no fish.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Kevin Fowler - Live
"Here, get her to put on you wristband," the guard at the gate said, indicating another employee, "she'll do it."

I looked at the pair with merriment, then amused, perhaps that should bemused, I mean, add their ages together, and I'm probably still older, at least chronologically. Fear not, emotionally, I'm still pretty immature. And that's on a good day. I asked why the wristband, and I was told, "It's a 'barely 21' crowd."

A Scorpio cop was working, and I asked if it was good crowd, and if he'd seen Fowler before.

"First time I heard the Willie song, I almost fell over from laughing so hard," he said. He further estimated that it was a decent crowd, not too much trouble.

Set List for the Kevin Fowler show, Floores Country Store, Helotes, TX, Saturday night:

1. Loud Loose and Crazy
2. Speak of the Devil (crowd goes wild)
3. Senorita Mas Fina (crowd goes wild)
4. (she's my little) Butterbean
5. Try Anything Twice
6. Lord loves a drinkin' man
7. Triple Crown
8. Bring it on (unreleased)
9. Hard man to love
10. (CDB tune)
11. J.O.B.
12. Sweet Child of Mine -> Next girl in line
13. 100% Texan (crowd goes ape shit)
14. Devil Went down to GA
15. Long way to freedom (unreleased - Waylon homage)
16. Don't touch my Willie
17. Ain;t drinkin' any more (ain't drinkin' any less)
Break - crowd chants "Kevin Fuckin' Fowler!" - encore:
Beer, Bait & Ammo
Closed with "Fat Bottom Girls" - from High on the Hog

Show opened with some guy, wasn't bad, but I wasn't paying attention, either, and then some jock introduced Kevin Fowler, and KF came on with a strong bass thumping, and that was a rock and roll noise, that opening bass line. But make no mistake, this isn't Southern Rock, it isn't traditional Country and Western, it's just that blend of Texas Country with sprinkling of rock influences. Like that opening bass line. It's more than fiddle and pedal steel, too. Rowdy, roadhouse music. Bawdy, perhaps not very politically correct, but what's life without a little lack of mental sanitation? It's about drinking too much and having a little too much fun. And women who break hearts. Can't ever forget that part. Which is why the lord loves a dinking man, as the song suggests.

A couple of weeks ago, I read this review of a Kevin Fowler show at some place in Dallas.
"Let me embrace thee, sour adversity,
For wise men say it is the wisest course."
Shakespeare's King Henry VI, part iii (III.i.27-8)

Ft. Worth seems to be flush with boomtown money, last I heard, and I haven't been there in close to a year, so I can't really comment. But the last time I was there, I worked at a metaphysical expo, in the same hall - at the same time - as a gun show. Sets a tone, now doesn't it?

Last time I was in Dallas, I verified that the coffee place was still there, and I'll suggest that the coffee in that one location is easily the best espresso between Milan and Seattle, and as a Texas Native, I'd tend to favor the location. Don't forget what Willis Alan Ramsey sang about Texas Women, and a refrain for Northeast Texas Women.

Jimmie Dale wrote a song about Dallas. Joe Ely sings it. As do the Flatlanders (which includes Jimmie Dale and Joe Ely, but at this point, it gets reductive.)
"Dallas is like a rich man with a death wish in his eye"

A few years ago, I saw the great Joe Ely on stage in Ft. Worth. Good show. Part of his stage banter included slagging Dallas for having no soul. With the aforementioned coffee shop, though, I was wondering if Dallas was developing some soul. And as far as burgers go, for my dollars, there is one place that still has what it takes to be the best. And kick-butt cheese fries.

A week of Mondays ago, over BBQ, I pondered this with Bubba, and that Kevin Fowler review, and I asked the usual rhetorical questions. Bubba is a great Texan Native, and he's seen most of these guys live. Several times. Kevin Fowler is nothing more than a brawling honky-tonk performer. In places like the legendary Billy-Bob's, or in Austin's Broken Spoke, KF fits. Perfect fit. His music is not refined. It sort of rocks, but it also has a definite twang component. Roadhouse music. Driving music. Ah, c'mon, anyone with an album called Beer, Bait & Ammo? What can be expected?

I spoke with Kevin Fowler, once in a social setting, when he was being a daddy and not being a star. He liked how the baby-stroller he was pushing, presumably with his child, had a beer-holder built in. Might be a clue. His mic stand has a beer holder, too.

Last time I saw him, the audience, predominately young anglo in western attire, knew the words to most of the songs. But that wasn't in a refined, rarefied atmosphere like Dallas.

Driving a car into Dallas, either coming up from Austin on I-35 or headed east from Ft. Worth on the old turnpike (I-20, now, I think), the Dallas skyline never fails to inspire awe, glittering buildings, reaching towards an East Texas sky, planes overhead, the State Fair, the nightlife. But then, on foot in Dallas, the town seems to have no soul. Like Joe Ely suggested.

I noted that most of the (whatever genre) of local music I like? Those groups and artists tend to shun Dallas. Perhaps it's just a coincidence.

Or maybe it's something else. Dallas is urbane. The rest of Texas is a little uncouth. I'm not complaining, just observing. C & C, Live at Billy Bob's.

Yeah, pour me another cup of coffee,
For it is the best in the land.
I'll put a quarter in the jukebox,
And play "The Truck Drivin' Man."

I climbed back aboard my old semi,
And then like a flash I was gone.
I got all them big wheels a-rollin'.
Now I'm on my way to San Antone.

Written by Terry Fell, (c) Cross Music.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Loquacious footnote:
It was some years ago, and I'm sure I wrote about it then, but the Derailers and Asleep at the Wheel were opening for an afternoon Travis Tritt concert, here in the park. I wandered over, cashed in a backstage pass, or paid admission, it's lost now, but I really just wanted to see the opening acts and I didn't care about the headliner.
"Oh no, you watch, trailer parks all around will empty out for this show," that Virgo girl suggested.
Which they did. I had on shorts and a straw, and [b]that[/b] Kevin Fowler T-shirt, the one with the Deer on the front. A great number of folks openly admired it. Guess they weren't used to us city folks being okay.

And another loquacious footnote:
I'm not suggesting that Dallas has no soul. To be fair, driving in from West Texas one evening, I flipped over to the Dallas-Ft. Worth radio, to break the monotony of the road, and I found a radio station that was playing local music. So good, in fact, that I wound up buying a CD of some music. And got a chance to go see a show. In Ft. Worth, though.

Came up again, over another plate of tacos, the other evening. It was a client in the midst of picking a new destination, trying to make a move in life, a little "location astrology," if you will, and I do.

We laughed about it, I did suggest Dallas, San Antonio, and so forth. As the client pointed out, even if those were acceptable location from a business point of view, it was duly noted that I don't live either place. Visit? Sure.

At Saturday's show, I noticed three - or more - cow skull tattoos. One on a lady, across a shoulder, and several more on various cowboy-looking fellers, Yeah, I'm sure it's a a local phenomena, but who would use a dead cow skull as an ornament?

Sinners and saints
SXSW notes:
Go see these guys.

Saints (or maybe sinners):
SOS demo.

SXSW intro:
I was headed out-of-town and in the one coffee shop I stopped at, there was a gaggle of (people) discussing things. Sounded especially foreign, or, at least, non-local.

I looked at the guy making espresso, "SXSW crowds yet?"

"No, not yet, but there's a hint, like, I haven't seen, but there's an aroma. More like a smell."

Yeah, he's a Scorpio.

Some days:
A single picture speaks volumes:

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

The legend lives on
My own, a tough act to follow, advice, which, by last count, is teetering on the brink of being famous, and I was thinking about this while working the other morning, just one tidbit, one word of advice to our out-of-town, out-of-state, and out-of-country visitors? Out-of-body and out-of-mind, too? Just to cover all situations?

Native Texans have a plethora of influences in heritage. There's the Southern component, the Native bloodline, and the Mexican influence. Of those three, there's the sense that there's a very gracious part of the constitution - it's in our collective genetic material. In other words, real natives here tend to be friendly. Look, out-of-town visitors, just because we're nice, or polite, or greet you with, possibly figuratively, warm embrace, that doesn't mean we want to sleep with you, in a non-figurative manner.

The legend lives on:
At the post office, the other afternoon, I scooped up a box. A box of goodness. A box that signifies something. A box of Worm-Glo.

[style=floatpicleft]image[/style] The box is from Legend Labs, home of Worm Glo, the worm food and tye-dye for night crawlers. Good stuff. In the box was a high-quality T-shirt, and they even listened to my request for a black T.

"What color? Black, unless you've got something darker," what I said.

So a zip-lock T and lifetime supply of worm food. It's symbolic, in a way, as it's the first real sponsorship I've gotten. Although, to be realistic, I've spent a lot more on green worms and worm food, and I'm sure it's a deal that'll work out for them, rather well. I just don't know that I'll have a chance to get a picture of me, with a big fish, and their T-shirt, not anytime too soon. But it's really cool shirt. I think it even glows in the dark.

But it's the thought that counts.

I still think Shakespeare Fishing should grab me while I'm available.

"Bait the hook well, this fish will bite."
- "Bill" Shakespeare

Not really, but I'm not going into the background of the story. Microsoft's first web page and, as noted before, my earliest graphic. An even dozen years on the web?

If it's Saturday:
This must be San Antonio.

Saints and sinners
St. Christopher was introduced to me as the patron saint of travelers, and later, of surfers. Then he got kicked out. Something about historical accuracy.. Stupid journalists. Anyway, here's a list that's almost manageable.

St. Lucy, that's the one, I guess. Although, St. Benedict is a good call, too.

Number 13: Feeder Road
(It's the Houston influence, I'm sure of it.)

My space:
In the past couple of months, I've had several people send me "my space" links. My limited aesthetic sensibilities are offended. It's not the content, that's hardly a problem. I realize there's a bit of backlash aimed at the revealing nature of some of the material published, but that doesn't bother me. I've been at this game for a while, and I've been online since we had to bang two rocks together to make binary code.

It's the "look & feel" of the space. But perhaps that's part of the message, too, less about the style and more about content.

I clicked through on one extended network link, and the next page opened up with searing guitar. While, in another life, I'd be tempted raise a fist in the air, and rock out, on a web page, it's just annoying. And on anything less than DSL, less common these days, the audio track probably stutters.

Meeting Minutes:
I took a meeting with the production staff. For the curious - and for the paid subscribers - the production crew runs in the credits for the weekly video, well, sometimes. Think it's in there for this week's.

In an effort to streamline the production schedule and clean up the process, streamline and automate as much as possible, the staff decided it was okay to run the current weekly audio file, or "podcast," usually updated on Monday, in the free section. It means a lot fewer steps in the production schedule, and greatly simplifies the access situations.

Record the video, edit it down, add the audio, which is all one step, and can take up to several hours, then burn the video to disk. Then, import the video clip and extract the audio, convert that audio file to mp3. Then, there was keeping track of what file was where, but updating two files instead of updating four or five is a lot easier to manage. Less work for the underpaid staff. The bonus for the paid subscribers is the video section, with enhanced audio tracking. And, of course, the graphics.

Mercury & the iPod:
I've been struggling, in a geek way, with a recalcitrant iPod. Older model, and for the last few years, all I did was burn music onto it, like, buy a CD, transfer the tunes and leave the 'pod plugged into the stereo. It started to crap out, and that meant it was time to nuke the 'pod. Which has been a 24-hour, then 48-hour nightmare of fried connection, fried drives and fried everything. I was diddling the 'pod, chatting with a client, and she suggested I just park it until Mercury was no longer retrograde.

Smart ass.

Don't think for a minute I won't take my own advice. Or, for that matter, quit messing with a piece of electronic equipment. Only took about two days of intermittent work to get the little item to finally work right.

Clues (in books):
"Our ancestors knew this, they had the time to read the glyphs, the patterns of stars carved on the belly of the night sky.
"The zodiac?
"Everything's there, Sony, clear as a good meal of beans, chile con carne, and tortillas."
(Rudolofo Anaya's Jemez Spring, page 62.)

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Mac links:
Apple storage, huh.

Mac info-tainemnt and media center.

Crack a Mac (manque).

Daily Show now available on iTunes. Paid-for-Podcast?

Where to buy that iPod?

Macs are cheaper. Means I'm an illegitimate penurious reprobate.

Farm or Fish
[style=floatpicright]image[/style] Nice enough weather, and I couldn't decide, farm or fish? But it's exactly the wrong time to plant anything new; however, with Mercury backwards, it is a good time to turn the old flower beds and hopefully get ready for some new seeds for the late spring growing season. At least, that's what I'm hoping. But all that fresh tilled earth, or spaded - in my case - means I want to drop seeds in. But it's the wrong time, just yet.

Unconnected to anything:
It's weird image, not attached to anything. Popped up, the other morning. It's concrete like a sidewalk, or the steps of an old edifice, perhaps a stairway, leading where? At least one local shop has tables made out of concrete, stained and sealed, could be, like a table top.

The single item on the concrete is a colored pencil, a light blue shade. Not a felt marker, not a crayon, or whatever they call those items, just a light blue color of pencil and "lead," although, I suspect that it really doesn't have any lead in it, just the blue pigment on a stick.

Weird bits: the colored pencil belonged to a child's set of colored pencils, and it was last used on the concrete.

"We now return you to our regular programming."

On the heels of the Oscars:
A movie we can all looks forward to: Jack Black in Nacho Libre.

On names?
Lovely name for a website.

Bummer, dude.
The good news is Hank III is playing in town. This month. Bad news? It's a SXSW showcase at the venue; therefore, badges get in first, then, if there's room and fire code will let it, over-priced tickets are sold. Given the rabid nature of the fans? Looks like a miss for me. Which is why I live like a monk.

Culcullus non facit monachum.
[style=floatpicleft]image [/style] She's not a big fish, nor, for that matter, she didn't have a lot of fight, it was the faintest tickle of a bite. But it is a fish. Which means, I did fish. And to say she didn't fight is misrepresenting the facts, because she was an after the fact fighter, calm until I hauled her in front of the camera and then it was a whole of tail action, she wouldn't hold still, trying to slap me with her tail.

"Ain't no luck, I learned to duck" (gratuitous Grateful Dead lyric).

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Myth, Mystery and Monday
Title says it all.

I first heard the tale, probably in Dallas. I do recall a version of the story in San Angelo. When I heard it in both Austin and San Antonio, I knew it was "one of those stories" that seeps into the local mythology like tainted groundwater.

I was going to adopt it a little, too, but I never could put the correct spin on the tale. The way the story goes, the common elements, a woman scorned for love, or illegitimate child, or a good-looking 19-year-old spinster. And she either kills herself, her lover, her suitor, her children, or gets killed by her lover or suitor, and at night, when the moon is full, you can hear her screams, and you can see her ghost-like image floating along the water's edge. As she mourns. Or haunts. Or whatever it is that make-believe ghosts do.

She's either of Latin heritage, or sometimes, she's Anglo, or maybe Native American. One of those.

The challenge is to spin the tale up to speed with a trailer park. I can't imagine any of the women-folk around here getting so despondent that - can't think of a single one - who would either sacrifice herself or her kids for a male. If it were to fit around here, she'd have to kill him, and at night, the ghostly cries would be the guy who made a mistake.

Now that would be a common enough tale.

In Anaya's work, I ran across a mention of the myth, and as Chicano story-teller, at least that author had the good sense to call it a myth.

Musical notes:
Every trope and conceit from a typical country and western song is present on that Hank III album. Fiddle, lap steel, stand-up bass, sure, that's what it sounds like. Except, listen to the lyrics.

"Must've been the pills I took, kept my heart from feeling blue, and kept me from feeling about you. The mirrors are all busted, and someone's crying, must've been them pills I took."

"Sometimes I'm wired and sometimes I'm tired, and may the outlaws rise again..."

(from the aforementioned new Hank III CD set.)

The connection then the answer to the question of the familiar nature of the singer/songwriter, or the character Richard III, especially as portrayed by the ASF production, the intimate nature of the conversation between the person on stage and the audience, whether that's one person listening to a CD or an audience in a small stage setting.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Two-three time
I'm wondering, I'm not sure this can be done, but Richard III and Hank III here's the trick, in the same coverage?

"Shakespeare's greatest originality in Richard III, which redeems an otherwise cumbersome and overwritten drama, is not so much Richard himself as it is the hero-villain's startling intimate relationship with the audience." (Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: Invention of the Human, page 70)

Hank III's latest, Straight to Hell.

(Rhetorical) "Is it possible to record a live performance?"


Spartan production values:
Each of the two items in the list reflect spartan production values. That doesn't mean that either productions, ASF's Richard III or Hank III's Straight to Hell is lacking in production quality, that's most certainly not the case. It's the "less is more" school of thought.

As duly noted, one of the intriguing aspects of the history of the bottled spider, the hunchbacked toad, and Shakespeare's history play about his rise and subsequent fall, "My horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse..." is the concept that Richard III, eventually King Richard (III) speaks close to a third of the lines in the play. Usually, in my limited experience, the success of the play is borne entirely on the (hunched) back of the player in that role. Putting himself in the role, sort of makes it all that much more difficult for Guy Roberts, playing Richard III. However, he does succeed.

To suggested I'm the not a fan of Guy Roberts' work in the last few years is not true, and to the contrary, I've found his work of a surprising quality, even in a little provincial town like Austin.

The success of ASF's production, in my wee and narrow mind is dependent - it all hinges on just two characters, Richard III and Buckingham.

Props, the set itself, spartan isn't even the word. Couple of cell phone, a sword, a dagger, some costuming that could be from just about any time, and sound track that was partially post-modern, yeah, that was all okay. The players themselves, and in my mind, it was two in particular, Richard (III) and Buckingham who didn't just carry show the but made the show for what it was.

What's stunning about this Richard, is it was easy to hear, simple to understand, every single word he spoke, gritted, grimaced, or hammed it up. The emotion and the diction fit like a glove.

At one point, there are three queens on stage, or queen mothers or whatever, and one of the queens lets loose with a little cursing. That one scene made me think about a scene of three witches in the Scottish play, too, but that could be me.

Excellent version, very well executed, and the ASF should be proud. In rep now. See link for details.

Just like the minimalist version of Richard III is borne by one character, as much as anything, so is the new Hank III double-CD set. Like a typical Hank III show, I get the feeling that the double CD set is similar.

Hank III, grandson of Hank Williams (Sr.) Looks like his granddad with a ponytail and a Misfits t-shirt. Can sound like his lineal forefather, too. I've written about this before, the inherent duality of Hank III's music, the bootlegs that are available everywhere, and this latest CD seems lot like one of the bootlegs. But I'm guessing it's not.

I've only glanced a the liner notes, and there's a bit of an explanation, as to the source and roots of that second CD in the album, it's only two tracks, one of which is 45 minutes or so, songs, sounds, ramblings, rumblings, sort of an audio trip taped together with music.

There's a "parental warning" on the album, too, and it's there for a good reason. The music itself is roots, or americana, or hillbilly, or whatever you want to call it, from a celtic-moountain-pioneer stock. But there's also a sprinkling of harsh, thrasher-sentiments, too.

"This is not your parents' country music," that's for sure. But it a well-executed voice that needs to be heard. Rebel yell, indeed. In deed.

Hank III, Shelton, call him what you want, he's talented. Although the songs are about drugs and drinking, and a life of sin, there's something, ultimately redeeming in the music.

Whether is Austin's Shakespeare Festival or Hank III in Austin, or buying the Hank III CD @ Waterloo Records, it's that 2/3 time.

I'm also wondering, if what Bloom says about Richard III, can that be said about Hank III, too?

At the Penn Field (something) playhouse, Austin Shakespeare Festival's Richard III

Hank III, at Antone's in Austin, see tour listing.

(click to visit)

2 quick ones

Top ten power ballads?
What am I missing in this list? Or does this list not really complete enough to offend people?

Astrologer Dawn:
She's been spamming me for several months. That, unsolicited e-mail, in and of itself, is unethical. Consider that it only goes downhill from that point onward. If the deal starts out badly, then it can only get worse. Careful about scammers with no ethics.

Or not frustrations, too, as those of us with advance warning know what's happening. At least, that's the theory.

Via Greg:
"Modulated anarchy"? (that internet trend)

Astrology and Generations:
First a learned academic piece about generations.
[style=floatpicleft] astrofish[/style] I do a different division for generations, using separate methods than what is pointed out there. Plus, in that article, the "urban tribes" are not separated from the Gen X group. In my mind, the two have very different signatures, although, in certain respects, similar goals. Pluto into Virgo, briefly in the late 1950s, then both Jupiter & Saturn in Capricorn, in 1960 or thereabouts, and then the "in between generation, basically, 1960 to 1970, Xer's, 1971-1979, plus or minus a year or two. Like 1960 or so, there was another Saturn & Jupiter conjunction in 1980-81 (plus or minus), and that lends an "urban tribe" feel to the those years. And this where it gets weird, to me, anyway, the Saturn & Jupiter in Virgo, then in Libra, the division vacillates, but it that's like a dividing line. Consider someone you know, your own age, and therefore, should be similar and yet, seems completely different. Different set of values. I like the article's separating of the "millennial" group, as that fits with what I've observed in clients, charts, and casual conversation.

Now, there's one other point, and I figure this is important, see: marketing to urban tribes or Gen X or the millennial(s), each group abhors certain marketing tripe.

Utterly unrelated:
How does Death Metal warrant a WSJ mention?

It's a laugh a minute here:
Actual voice mail, "Hey, this is (name) from (company), and it looks like you're doing some interesting stuff there, if you need any help with staffing, or if you can just connect me to HR, we're good."

Not a very observant lad, huh?

But some observations do yield results:
It's the only item I found vaguely exciting, from the Left Coast (or Peoples' Cooperative of Southern California).

Even better:
Some silliness from College Station, just to made the day.

Shopping days.
Not like "shopping" shopping, but just tire-kicking. Except, I've got a mission, the new Hank III album is available.

Shopping astrology:
Which isn't a lame pointer to my - or a link to the storefront, but just what I noticed when I was poking around on the web and looking through pointers and reefers.

Dark - usually black - background and white print? Hard to read. Looks wonderful, but it's still a pain in the eyes to read. The upside, from my point-of-view, is typographical mistakes are harder to detect. That's more fun - for me. But from a reader's point of view?

Then there's the wheel of fate look, and frankly, I'm thinking someone else did this, like a boat with the signs around it?

I was figuring, having just a few extra minutes of time, what I could do was knock together one of those spinning wheel, the 12 signs, all around, and it plays like a roulette wheel, or better yet, like the wheel of fortune.

I'm none too worried about the load on the server, as the price of bandwidth is cheap these days. But I am worried that the material - the presentation - detracts from the information. The fancy sites with with throbbing buttons? While they're fun once or twice, after while, it just gets annoying. I can tell from the server's log files (reefers) that the paid subscription users tend to bookmark the password page and bypass the front page. Which is as it should be. And the rest? Actually, most of the inbound traffic is either the web journal or front page, depends on the day.

Throbbing buttons? Single points of light in black background? A spinning astrology chart with the signs all around, like a Wheel of Fortune?

Belies my monk-like existence.

Culcullus non facit monachum. astrofish (click to visit) 3/3
Same thing, different day
Not much happened. My day got turned upside down because a friend called, wanted to walk the trail with me, maybe eat some lunch.

My happy discovery the other evening, the fish tacos, was shared. We shook up the usual route a little, and I kept feeling soreness in my legs, but I couldn't fathom the stiffness. It's not like a few miles would really bother me, except that I'd hiked them in cowboy boots the other evening. But even then, that's not like a long way, not for me.

Two images, popped up. One is a trend I'm not liking, the fish are getting smaller (and harder to catch), and the other is the spring sprig of, I'm going out on a limb here, Mountain Laurel? Unrelated: Turn your blog into a T-shirt. Or some text.
Culcullus non facit monachum.
(click to visit)

(But I do live just like a monk.)

Working notes, magic of the night
There will be no mention of brands, nor any links, in this brief wander through an Austin evening.

Mercury is about to turn backwards, in Pisces, as if that hasn't been figured out already. Means I'll be more distracted and yet, oddly peaceful, at the same time, Knowing why a problem exists doesn't fix the problem, but it gives me valuable expertise in working around the problem.

I was contracted as entertainment for a downtown convention. Good pay, usual hourly rates, early evening (supper time to some folks) slot, and since there wasn't a lot on the schedule, I'd agreed to this, some time in the distant past.

I put on a clean shirt, slid into a (passed the sniff test) clean pair of jeans, pulled on socks and boots, threw a laptop in bag, and wandered off towards downtown, hopefully, a little early.

Forgot to buy a lottery ticket, but then, luck's funny, and I was guessing my number wasn't coming up. Not in a lottery way.

As I turned the corner onto Sixth Street, my original destination was blocked. Way it goes, sometimes, I do believe. Looked like about half-dozen fire trucks, EMS, and a command center truck, not to mention a couple of cop cars, plus the street was barricaded. Faint aroma of smoke, like something burning, still lingered. No smoke, though, for which I was glad, in as much as I don't care for the activity of the street, I do adore Sixth Street's historic building facades.

I had half an hour to grab something to eat - I was starving - and get a couple of blocks up the hill to the hotel. Since my first choice was blocked, I settled on the next best solution, the first open Mexican restaurant. Had chips, two bowls of hot sauce, and the creme-de-la-creme, halfway through the first bowl of hot sauce, while waiting on fish tacos, I scooped a portion of a plastic wrapper out of the hot sauce. A lesser man would be offended. A less-adventuresome diner would be pitch a fit and demand free food, or walk out in a huff. Maybe a minute and a huff, to quote a certain movie star's line.

Me? I was hungry, in a hurry, the waitress was a cute little Scorpio, with those alluring smoky Scorpio eyes, and I couldn't be bothered because the bit of plastic proved that the salsa was fresh and hoime-made. Really fresh, like that afternoon.

Tacos were good. Maybe a liter or two of ice tea, and I was off, headed up the hill, thinking about the fire, worried that I didn't have a tie on, and that the nice, clean shirt would be all sweaty by the time I got there.

I'd say something about the convention, but it's all a blur.

Clocked out, collected a check and stepped out of the hotel the wrong way. I had a client who lived at that hotel, once, so a misstep like that seemed odd. But I don't worry about minor details like an extra half-block.

I was pondering where I was going to stop for coffee, any of about three destinations presented themselves. Not like this is a problem, or, for that matter unusual, but I did run into a certain female (Taurus), and after a minute of conversation, stepped back onto the avenue to continue the discussion. Client/friend thing. We carried on for a while, friendly banter, and she allowed as how I looked "real good" in clean shirt and sport jacket.

Patrons showed up, and she had to jump back to work. I kept rolling towards home, and the coffee shop I stopped at? There was a lone person on the makeshift stage, strumming a guitar, and with beautiful voice, singing some sad lament. I ordered the evening's single bit of fun, a shot of espresso, and I listened while she played.

Back on the street, the weather is almost perfect. I would call it perfect but I still had on jeans and that stupid starched shirt. Too warm for that kind of a monkey outfit for me.

I didn't have an iPod with me, so I was lost in my own thoughts, but considering where I had been, a lyric kept running through my head, an old Bob Dylan tune, as I recall.

"There was music in the cafes at night/Revolution in the air."

That's Austin, at night, in March.

Culcullus non facit monachum.
(click to visit)

The small brands & books
(But not related. At all.)
I'm wondering if there's a good quote to emphasize this point, but it's a simple message, "Do what you do, and do it well."

I suppose, too, a corollary should include the points about always striving for improvement, learning new tricks, stay abreast of what's up and so on.

The article, here, is about cheap-o TV sets.

I got into the smaller brands when I discovered a certain cola from Skeleteens, with a name like FOO kola cola. Good stuff.

Some place on the wild wooly web, there was an article that pointed out that the Dell monitors, while not nearly as nice-looking as the Apple counterpart, had the same internal bits - and like everything Dell, substantially less in price. I could very well have my facts wrong about that, but dig deep enough, and it's easy to see that a little searching can uncover what ,a href="http://www.applematters.com/index.php/section/comments/apples_free_publicity_machine/" target="blank">really works best.

I popped open a bottle of Mexican Coke, Coca-Cola bottled in Mexico. I've got a few, I save them for special occasions or a little midnight inspiration. Bout as wild as I get these days.

Yeah, micro-brew cokes. Like the beer craze, only longer-lasting. And cheap TV sets.

"Hand-crafted in our laboratory in a South Austin trailer park, using only arcane secrets of the ancients."

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

Reminds me of another story, the bands turning down what, to them, must be tainted cash. One of those items that's rarely covered by the headline news?

Reading lists:
Last winter? Fall, maybe? I picked up Anaya's Alburquerque to reacquaint myself with his more recent work.

So when I moved over from Almanac of the Dead to Jemenz Spring, it was natural fit, Southwestern Lit, in as much as there is such a critter, and after about three pages, I remembered why I liked the whole series so well. (Sonny Baca Mystery series, goes through all four seasons.)

If I recall correctly, and I could be wrong, Anaya is a Scorpio. Not that it matters, but I do find a little bit of an edge in his work. Now, I've lived in New Mexico, finished high school there, did a little college, plus I spent a year in Albuquerque, working. So I've got a special sense of the place. And therefore? The material works rather well for me.

Flip it around, though, and look at the early maps of Texas, West Texas ended at the Rio Grande - and that included Eastern New Mexico. Best way to piss off a New Mexico native? Other than just being from Texas? Suggest what I just did, that, to me anyway, spiritually, the line between Eastern New Mexico and West Texas is not quite as clear as they would have us believe. But never mind that now.

So as an old desert rat, I can blend well with the Southwestern style. It fits me, although, I've grown accustomed to the lush wetlands I live in. But I can certainly see the beauty in place like Las Cruces, or even El Paso.

There's one scene, and I thought it was in the novel Alburquerque, but I didn't find it. Which doesn't mean that it's not a good book, either. But after just the first chapter of Jemenz Spring, I had to stop.

The taxonomy, the category for the novels and the series, could loosely be called murder-mystery. Or, in more high-blown language, Magical Realism. Or a new-age Metaphysical Mystery.

Ah, but what's missing? The taxonomy doesn't do justice to what's covered. It's none of those categories, not really. In the mythical Southwest, consensual reality and the world of myth, metaphor and magic, all blend together. Some suggest that the sky is a little closer, the barren landscape offers a thinner veil between the worlds.

Yeah, whatever.

Been there, done that.

However, the different realms are more easily accessible. That's sort of the point.

The description of the magic of a sunrise, I mean, here the author was just describing a character waking up, fixing coffee, and feeding the dog, yet, all of that description brings back memories for me, and from there, I put the current book down, stretched, and looked for my older material from the author. I looked at the publication dates, and Zia Summer was next.

There's one scene, buried in the series someplace, and I've got to reread it.

The question being, "What should I read next"

New month, big mess
Dear AOL Customer support:

I need you to do a favor for me. You need to patiently, and with no malice, explain to your paying customers why email originating from my domain - is blocked.

It's not an IP address problem. It's not an email account problem. It's a not a problem with bulk mail or volume of mail.

So please, explain to your people why mail from me doesn't arrive. Don't bother trying to reach me, it's your problem, you fix it.

Kramer Wetzel
Webmaster -

When someone orders a chart report or reading, I tend to answer the first notification as fast as I can. Take care of the details. Now, AOL - according to the "bounced mail message" - is blocking the only email address I use. A single report can generate maybe five emails from me, some quite lengthy, although, think about it, it's just text. No graphics, no worms, no containers for deadly viruses. Except, of course, the thought that inward work might cause someone to think.

Which, apparently, AOL doesn't.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

New Month, no news
I'm forever interested in the interactive version of the web and its associated media. Medium? I suppose it should be plural.

[style=floatpicleft]image[/style] I did finally finish re-reading and from there, jumped right on into the next title on the list.

I liked the ending. Poetic, soft, and it completed a cycle. Sort of, anyway. Still, it's a sprawling tale, and the first time I read it, there was no "internet," or, for that matter, no way to do a quick search on terms and people, to see what was true and what was pure fiction.

I can't recommend the book for just everyone. It's a difficult text and occasionally poetic, then just a list, revisionist history in places. Not that it's bad, it's merely a matter of what is picked for history. A cautionary tale, too, but look at the last part of this post, down at the bottom, I did spend a certain portion of my morning communing with nature, in one way or another.

March madness, cont'd:
SXSW time in Austin. Getting ready, getting geared up, I suppose. Last year's post about
SXSW is a tough act to follow, and I'll be both big weekends. Too bad, huh? Actually, that doesn't bother me a bit. I might even prefer it that way.

Spring in the air:
On the trail, as it were, ran into a Pisces buddy - with his new girlfriend - and earlier - a Leo - and her dog got a tidbit of the leftover
two-meat platter, which really should be part of any Austin diet.

Spring has finally, and I guess I can make it official, arrived. The amount of fur the cat is shedding would be my indication. Per her once and come away with a handful of winter fur.

But the end is near!

A sure sign of the apocalypse:
I was gnawing on a particularly satisfying pork rib, reading a discarded newspaper. The [b]End Times[/b] must be near: Wine Tasting at the Houston Rodeo?

Shades of Rocket Man?

Very unrelated:
Sex Pistols site (not for non-punk people). Or music history, or whatever.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

What's a day without fishing some?

Two-meat Monday
Yeah, so it does rhyme or anything. Who cares? It's a Mercury thing.

Dark of the moon:
It has a strange effect on some people. Mr. Astrowhore.org (Gemini) popped on around the trailer for a repast. Day early for the usual, so I settled for "bubba tacos," and helped myself to a rib from his "all you can eat" platters. One dish, three platters of meat, and the curious question, "Do they have BBQ Bacon?"

I heard stories of improbable magnitude, yet, there's always shards of truth contained therein. Plus reminders about what - and what not - to do.

On a balmy Austin afternoon, in the back patio, under the wan winter's afternoon sunlight, I listened, and commented, but mostly, just listened.

Stage notes, part II:
532. No role in the Shakespearean canon is best played as an Elvis impersonator. Couldn't have said it better myself.

"Thank you. Thank you very much."

Tickled 'pank':
(subtitled: couldn't have said it better myself)
From TFG, again, whipping it up.

More (pseudo) Latin:
Trivial pursuits.

Just what I needed: something to stabilize my video feed.

Obviously, I didn't cover. Darn the luck.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit)

The way this works.
It's simple, really.

In the rain, more like drizzle or just heavy fog that went with Saturday night, it was back to the theater, to see 12th Night, yet again.

Culcullus non facit monachum.

Now, I'd been poking around in Bartlett's, looking for something, as was obvious. I'd found one quote I liked. Rang a bell, so to speak, but as far as I was concerned, it was from Bartlett's.

Culcullus non facit monachum.

But in the first, second act, or thereabouts, Feste the Clown quotes it. So I've seen this in the movie, then on stage (x2), and it didn't strike home until Saturday night.

Culcullus non facit monachum.

Works for me.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit)

12th night (again)
What a nice .

Culcullus non facit monachum.

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit)

Ipse dixit
"Terminological inexactitude."
(Sir) Winston Churchill Speech in the House of Commons, Feb. 22, 1906.

"It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
(Sir) Winston Churchill Radio broadcast, Oct. 1, 1939.

"The United States is a land of free speech. No where is speech freer - not even here where we seditiously cultivate it even in its most repulsive form."
(Sir) Winston Churchill Speech in the House of Commons, Sep. 28, 1944.

1824: Subtitle: what's in a name, anyway?
I'm sorry I missed this one, a TFG
original, about the proposed name of a team headed to Houston? But I've got a really simple solution, not 1836, call it 1824. Yeah buddy, that flag.

File under: "Who cares?"
G'n'R's new tracks? More musical notes: (This should be a little embarrassing, you know, but what the heck, after Guns'n'Roses? How low can I go? Besides, this was what played the afternoon, while I was working.)

Long Train Running Bananarama
Sex Berlin
In a Big Country Big Country
Godzilla Blue Oyster Cult
Subterranean Homesick Blues Bob Dylan
I've been everywhere Brian Burns

Working through the B's? Or would that all be flat?

But seriously folks, if music soothes the soul, I mean, just the partial B-sides? The B-list? What's it indicate. I fear for my sanity.

Marketing rant:
Jason's micro-payment idea worked, for a year, so he claims. I'll admit, from what he revealed, it looks like he made more than me last year. Plus, it looks like he made it close to a comfort zone. Can't say the same, here.

I added a "pop-under" to the free horoscopes. I've had zero complaints. I'd like someone to bitch about it, though, just so I could get my sarcasm on. I would, without mercy, mock someone who complained. First off, the script that executes the pop-under is [b]easily[/b] blocked by most browsers. Then again, the link leading to the location, clearly marked "free horoscopes," it's obvious that something is paying for the bandwidth. Finally, the ad is site-specific.

> If this is Kramer, it's about time I paid for it.
> Been enjoying your website & links for ages.  Thanks again.
|> Date of sign up:  Feb. 23, 2006
|> Subscription Name:  30 days access to current scopes

Flip it around though, and nice note like that with a new subscription? Makes my day.

Gerald Manly Hopkins:
"Look at the stars! Look, look at the skies!
O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!"
Poems. No. 32, The Starlight Night, l. 1

John Wayne:
"Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much."
Advice on acting

From the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, U.S. Army, May 29, 1945:
"Spartan simplicity must be observed. Nothing will be done merely because it contributes to beauty, convenience, comfort, or prestige."

Culcullus non facit monachum.


Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!


(click to visit)

AOL users, please note!
I've had a long term love/hate affair with AOL. A defunct portion of AOL gave me a great break and lots of exposure. Paid me well, too, at one point. But they also promised me a "free for life" account that was terminated in Y2K. Now, a new problem has cropped up: bounced mail.

[style=floatpicleft][/style]The bounced mail is not from a bulk mail carrier. There's actually a low volume of mail going out, but the AOL itself is automatically refusing it. What I get is a cluttered inbox with the usual "bounced mail" notice and a link to AOL, suggesting I do something.

It's one guy on this end, and media conglomerate on the other. I have a very small dog in this fight. Not a chance.

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog?"


What it amounts to, though is that AOL is blocking your access to e-mail that you've requested from me.

Like, when an AOL user signs up for a subscription, and wants a password. Hint: it was sent, just blocked by your connection, refused.

I feel so rejected.

I was afraid of this when I read the announcement that AOL (and some other ISP) was going to charge for email postage. Other than my ire and subsequent irritation at not being able to communicate with clients, it's not my problem. Nor, is this a fight I wish to undertake. I'll lose.

As a nice guy, I can't understand it when other people don't play nice. I've had this very same problem with hotmail before. Somehow, that eventually resolved itself, but first I had to deal with an inbox full of bounced mail. One of the reasons I no longer maintain an active email list - way too much trouble.

The other option is to charge AOL members more. But one of the points I pride myself on is the cut rate price of the weekly subscription. Trying to implement a two-tiered price level. Nope, not going to happen.

I'll figure something out. In the mean time? You know what? I'm fulfilling my end of the deal. In good faith.

Things fall apart
The center cannot hold. As Homer Simpson would be credited with exclaiming, "D'oh!" (But who said that?)

Not many absolutes here. I've been much motivated to explore my mind, such as it is, with all its juvenile, puerile thought processes, as of late. Something's cooking, and I'm unsure of what. It's as if there's a big container of chili, on the stove, slowly simmering. Something's missing, though.

Bad News:
Return of the suit? Whatever shall I do?

Best podcast ever. Only wished I'd a-thunk of it fust.

Bartlett's Quotations is familiar desk reference to some of us. Any more, though, folks just seem to plug words into a search engine, and the results are easier to access. Beats getting a book off the shelf - especially a heavy book like that.

A couple of years ago, my own, sweet, Scorpio mum gave me a copy of Bartlett's. It replaced a college version I'd ferried around for years. In the interest of authenticity, the other evening, after an attributed quote, I opened up Bartlett's to see what I could find.

This goes a little deeper, as the introduction to a book of fishing quotes, the author, or rather editor, of that little tome claimed he just purloined all the quotes from Bartlett's. Just run down the index and look up "fish" or "fishing." If it wasn't an attractive book, well-organized, useful - and fun - I'd be upset that I didn't think of that idea, first.

I flipped through Bartlett's the other night. I couldn't find a valid attribute for the quote I mentioned, but whatever. I did find some other quotes, thought provoking, useful, tidbits that say something in a short, concise manner. Poetry, too.

On a whim, I sent a query e-mail to local monthly magazine. One of those "free entertainment" specials. Editor asked for a sample column, I did one up for April, considering the lead time for print publication. I received an overwhelming approval, only, the editor was ready to run the April scopes for March.

Unlike some scopes, my material is very specifically timed for certain astrological events. Which meant, since I was late for the March deadline, could I hurry up and knock something out. Which I did.

For one sign, for a month, let's pretend that's four weeks, that's averaging between 800 and 1,200 words. Try and condense the flavor, describe the style, and cover all the bases in 50 to 100 words.

I thought April material was smooth and relevant, but the March column was like wrestling a pig in the mud. But I beat the deadline, with at least 45 minutes to spare.

As an academic exercise? A good challenge. Try thinking in a different way. Think differently.

Holiday note:
Dia de la Bandera? Guess so. Party on.

The story behind the story?
I suppose, first read the Capricorn version.

|> On 2/17/06, Greg wrote:
|> Transit SUN trine natal Uranus
|> Feb 15 through Feb 17, exact on Feb 16
|> Brief transit. You'll have a tendency to have restless energy
|> that you are likely to put into trying something new. There is a
|> potential for surprises today -- expect the unexpected. If you feel
|> a need to break from routine, you'll probably find a very pleasant
|> way to do it; for that matter, a way may find you.
|> Bubba: "artists live in different time zones."
| you do this shit on purpose.

|> On 2/17/06, Greg wrote:
|> Bubba: I do?
| not that i can prove it.
| you just do good work.

Years ago, my sister (Gemini) made a clock for me. It had 11 of the 12 astrological signs, colorfully arranged around an artist's (hers) depiction of me, I guess. I'm not sure. The motto read, "Artists live in different time zones."

As much as I adore my sister and her handicrafts, that one clock, as of late, started jumping from its post on the patio. Leaping. High winds buffeted it mercilessly. After three attempts at escape, I deemed that it wanted another place to live. The object no longer held any affection for me. Or the Austin weather.

Now, Mr. Capricorn, he's really an artist, note the logo he designed, and as such, I figured, when she's rich and famous, Sister's artwork will be worth something, like on eBay. It could happen.

One of the links is really good. An example of American values (link is offensive to some, and certainly NSFW). And risibility.

What have you done lately?
I was filling out a form for a high school I didn't graduate from - one of several - I was a problem child - might still be - anyway, as I'm on the mailing list. Possible donor? Hoping I've made millions and I'll leave some behind for them? I doubt it. I think I'm leaving it all to UT, just easier, and hopefully, some scholar will appreciate what's there.

I don't have time or money to travel for a reunion. Not that I'm not interested, just not that big of a deal. I wonder what a couple of the people turned out like, but again, not that big of a deal. But I did shoot back the reply form, cost me a stamp, ten minutes of my time, and then, it triggered something, a train of thought.

Maybe a train wreck of thought, or, at the very least, a derailment. Not that it matters, either.

Stop with parenthetical expressions, already, okay, or maybe, not.

Two questions gave me pause. I'll paraphrase because the note's in the mail by now.

"Any interesting avocations or vocation?"

(Is that grammatically correct? Plural and singular?)

I live in South Austin. I don't have title to a vehicle. I walk a lot of places. I fish right out the trailer's back door. I write a column called "Fishing Guide to the Stars," each week. I wander around Texas and the Southwest. I rather fancy my "vocation," such as it is, even though I'm still working towards that mythical "break-even" point, according to the accounting. Did I mention that, over all, I really enjoy my work? I have tapped a mythical mother lode of epic proportions when it comes to material - all I have to do is open my eyes. It's here, everyday, right in front of me.

My casting arm, the elbow's a little sore, but I mean, what's wrong with a little physical discomfort, in the name of a pleasurable sport like fishing? Avocation or vocation? Fishing Guide to the Stars.

"Done anything special in the last ten years?"

That one seriously stymied me for a minute. Has ten years slipped by without any major accomplishments? Maybe I m stuck in Austin's fabled "velvet rut."

I was up late, the previous evening, reading a fascinating novel, the cat wanted to be fed at 6 AM, and I told her to shut up, hugged her once, and went back to sleep for another hour or so, then I was drinking coffee, with the cat fed, by 8 or so, and looking at inbound mail, as I toyed with advertising settings, try to clean up the ads a little, and I got to serious work on a column, and looked at the weekly scope about to launch, then poked around on the web for something interesting, and finally I started typing a new column, which meant I spun charts around, munched on a granola bar, made a second cup of coffee, and I marveled at the way the fog was clinging to the terrain, which is unusual weather, couldn't even see the far side of the river for the better part of the morning, and the traffic noise was silenced by the fog, as I worked up to a stopping point, a self-appointed goal, let the cat out, let the cat back in, showered up and walked downtown to look at the mailbox, and along the way, nodded to a guy I know from one place, as he was bicycling along, got honked at once, waved back, watched water fowl on the lake, no signs of fish, stopped for a shot of espresso from a Leo, bought a hot dog for lunch, kept on gently heading home where I jotted an down idea for another scope that I picked up along my walk, looked at the mail, returned a call, booked a reading for the evening, lay down for a little rest, got up and warmed the coffee so I'd be awake for the reading, thought about fishing, hammered out a quick idea, booked some travel arrangements on the web, took a call from out-of-state, then another call from overseas, and finally got around to the reading, and waiting for the scopes to roll over, which they do automatically, but I like to check and be sure, just in case, and that reading spurred another idea, which meant I had to fire up the horoscope writer again, which, as it turns out, is something I like to do, anyway, then the cat wanted out again, but a cold front arrived, and we played the sit-at-the-open-door game.

A third question left me room to have a little fun. My motto. In Latin:

Laeti edimus qui nos subigant!
(click to visit)

As I passed the corner of Lower Congress and Oltorf, there, on the corner lot, the store has early voting material. I was tempted, just as a matter of form, to vote. But I didn't. See: the problem is, vote in the primary? Can't sign the petition to get Kinky on the ballot for governor.

Maybe life - and Texas politics - can be summed up in a single t-shirt.

A cast, you got to love, from a director you got to love, based on a novel by an author, you got to love, Scanner darkly (the trailer).

The Barrier:
Still toying with code, ad, subtract, trying get that index page under 10K in size.

Musical interlude:
Beethoven's Symphony #7, 3rd Movement, "Presto, presto meno assai."
(Like I even have a clue what that means - good stuff, anyway.)

Ten Things:
That, according to some, will change our lives.

Link policy (update):
I am eternally amused at how this works. First off, I was fiddling with the advertising crap, trying to earn a few extra cents to help defray the cost running the site. What I discovered was a link from my site has a value of a $1 (more or less), as a commodity. But the links I toss into the journal or the scopes? No charge, nothing gained, but I greatly do amuse myself sometimes. In an upcoming scope, I forget where I buried the two links, I found a local hard-line thinker, neo-conservative, be my guess. And in the very same scope? A liberal. A left-leaning, neo-socialist. Ain't it great? Flag-waving for both sides.

(click to visit)

The funny thing:
Subtitle: why I don't use Google Ad Sense
I was looking at one of my favorite, snark-tech sites, The Register, if you have to know, and there was an article about the sex-life of some kind of mole. Less about tech stuff, more about scientific findings, and written with the british dry wit. More amusing, less "real" content. But the ad running at the top, alongside the humorous article? Something about Mole Sauce and a Mexican Kitchen link.

Mole the rodent? Mole the chocolate sauce that's so good on chicken and enchiladas? Mexican food in the UK?

Oh, never mind. It was funny to me. Stupid computers.

"Don’t worry about avoiding temptation... as you grow older, it will avoid you."
(attributed) Winston Churchill

Two taco Tuesday
[style=floatpicright]image[/style] got a new gold tooth, or that's what it looks like to me, way in the back, no pictures of that one.

Worked, went to the dentist's office in the drizzle, wandered home, had a taco to make sure the new tooth was working okay. Still a bit tender, I'd guess.

I started ripping some extraneous tracks, and it all started with Buck Owens. The Bakersfield Sound. Raw and edgy, perhaps, and best-known for Hee-Haw. Hardly an auspicious memory.

I'm glad the computer didn't belch when I was ripping disparate tracks. I remembered that I needed to add something from the single KISS CD I've got. Back-to-back with Kinky Friedman. And from Kinky's liner notes? Guitar - T-Bone Burnett, Levon Helm, Ron Wood. Dobro - Eric Clapton. Voice of Jesus - Ringo Starr. Organ - Dr. John.

No idea:

On the sidewalk. On Lower Congress. I'm sure there's a story there, but I couldn't understand any of it. Maybe. Maybe not. Just a thing on the sidewalk.

(click to visit)

Jemez Spring by Rudolfo Anaya is the book I wound up with. First, though, I've got to finish Alamanc of the Dead. And what I was looking forward to finishing, but it's not out yet? A Dirty Job (bit someone has to do it?)

Coherent themes? There are none. Death, the Southwest, and humor. Mystery and thriller. I don't have an ARC of any of the above, so I won't be reviewing them until they're available. I wrote extensively about Chris Moore's Lamb, and in retrospect, I found it to be one of his finest pieces of work. To say that I'm looking forward to the new book is an understatement. The lad has quite a way with words, and yet, even the grotesque characters are described with a certain love and affection.

Mercury is moving forward - slowly - yet forward. Last quarter moon. Yes, it's that time again.

you are Hank Williams!
Hank Williams... you're fucked up on drinks, pills

and a broken heart. You'll die young and

wild, but influence more people than you

could ever imagine. If it wasn't for you,

rock n roll would be nothing more than benign

and insipid.

Which fucked-up genius composer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Austin: exported
There's a company, based in Austin, I'm guessing, and I was wondering if the corporate culture, that special intangible feeling, really does translate outside of Austin.

The location, it's a little more upscale and swanky that I would prefer, but when I'm on the road, what the hell, and I was just poking around in the store. An Austin-based chain. Just a few outlets, not really that big of deal, except that the Austin sensibility seems to have infused itself in the company's culture.

I made a single purchase, just adding to the travel gear that I regularly use, and the girl behind the counter allowed as how she had just moved, apparently with the company, from Austin to San Antonio.

I elicited a chuckle with my comment about the Tex-Mex being better in San Antonio.

"Yeah, where's you favorite place," she asked.

I dryly suggested that place with the handmade tortillas.

Roll of the eyes.

But my little interchange did nothing to convey the true humor and sentiment of the store. In the "mountain boot fitting" area, there were four male employees. One hackey sack. Saturday night, the manager, possibly the oldest alpha male there, all of about 30 years (my guess) old, leading a game of "toss the foot bag."

It's definitely an Austin tradition, suitably exported.

San Antonio Nights
For the last few days, like, when I was at the Austin Apple Store, I've been getting by in shorts. It was that warm. However, I recall, just in the past years, there's usually a cold snap in February. It did hit. The trailer's back door was open, a cold blast of air whooshed in, 11:54 PM, Thursday night, and the temperature plummeted.

Been a cold one, ever since.

Huddled up in the cold, unforgiving night air.

There isn't much to look forward to, but I did have three items that sparked hope, all retail.
1. New CD from Hank III, due Feb. 28.
2. New
Serge story from Tim Dorsey
3. New book from Chris Moore


Midnight trains
I wonder if I could do this as a Mystery Train?

Unrelated questions:
Is this even comical? How to survive a cable outage?

This is just a sidebar note:
When I checked the above-mentioned link, what I noticed as I re-opened the page, the top half of my screen was advertising, 50%. Then, one half of the bottom, the right-hand side, was advertising. In other words, 75% - or more - of the screen was material not related to the story.Think I'll do that.

The cable outage story amused me on a different level. As of now, yes, I'm hooked up to cable, but only for net access. No TV. I've bounced between broadband providers, going cable to less expensive DSL back to cable, then back to DSL in a cost-cutting effort, then back to cable because of a sweet deal. And when the alternative cable arrives, I'll probably switch again, if it's substantially less expensive. Cable is faster than DSL in my neighborhood. Costs almost the same, right now. And when the phone or cable dies? Actually, I might not even notice - I might be reading a book. Or fishing.

Restaurant Ambiance
There's certain flair, a special mindset that's required to properly enjoy certain food groups, like, say, a basket of tacos.

[style=floatpicleft]image[/style]Perhaps a little al fresco dining? Perhaps a choice in hot sauce or, "something hotter," as it was termed by the server? Maybe it's the smell of bleach on the floor, at closing time, or the lazy way the attendant help seem to pace themselves?

Or maybe it's a washing machine, on sidewalk, out front, with a sign, "FREE please TAKE."

I'm wondering, is this a localized phenomena, is this something that only happens in South Austin?

I was going to get a picture of the place's sign, but there's a big logo underneath it, and I'm less interested in plugging that logo. However, the sign itself advertises "San Antonio Tamales," and that's here. Not in San Antonio.

I've stopped a number of times at this place. Food's good. But the afternoon that I saw the washing machine on the sidewalk? Just made me ever so much more grateful to live in a neighborhood where such things can wind up in front of the place where I like to dine.

Doesn't hurt, either that the tamales are good. Or that the daily lunch special is usually a couple of tacos. The ice tea comes in the requisite quart-sized glass, and the hot sauce has two flavors, hot and hotter.

If I had to tell the truth though, it's right on the way to the grocery store and a client's place.

The food was so good-looking, to me, I shot a ten-second video clip of it. I'll use that in a week or two, for the weekly 'cast.

San Antonio Tamales, between the lawyer office and boot-maker's place - just off Congress Avenue. Lower Congress.

One more thing (or What You Will):
I realized I missed one comment from the play's review, the guy who played the duke. He got it right. So did Sir Toby Belch. And Sir Andrew, rather well-played. Excellent, even.

Apple's Care:
I'm a long-time proponent of Apple's extended care policies. I've had three out of the last four pieces of equipment have to go in for extensive surgery long after the year-long warranty had expired. That's the good news. Austin has an Apple store, and although I've made purchases there, until Thursday afternoon, I'd found that the Austin Apple Store was kind of snotty, in a very non-South Austin way. I've visited - and made purchases - at the stores in Oakland (CA), Dallas (2), Austin, San Antonio, Soho (London - UK), and for a the last couple of years, it's been a personal running gag to get picture of me in front of the Genius Bar sign.

Now, I wasn't even returning any of my own equipment, no, this was a service call for a client. The air in her Airport Base Station wasn't airing right. Or it was erring.

So I make an appointment online with the stupid little retail website thing, show up a few minutes early, and I anticipated more snotty responses. Instead, the wandering help was actually helpful, made some educated guesses at solutions, gave me something to work with, and continuously checked the queue to assure me that I would be attended to momentarily.

The Taurus at the service desk, the Genius at the Genius Bar - was very helpful. I felt like such an end-user, too, as I was thoroughly unprepared. I had a piece of equipment that didn't work, plus the hope that it was covered by the extended warranty I'd suggested, maybe a year or two ago.

I took a guess at a phone number, name on the sales receipt, mother's maiden name, all of that. Just guessing as I've got two clients with numbers so similar, I can easily get confused. But the plucky Taurus spent minutes furiously pounding the keyboard, eventually came up with a very satisfactory solution, and I left the hardware behind, departing with a promise of phone call, and another working unit in a matter of days.

Plus tips: perhaps way to streamline the video message each week. What's nice? It was all handled in a relaxed yet economical fashion - unlike previous experiences.

What was weird? Their T-shirts. "Blah Blah Blog."

Unrelated collections:
I was going to save it for this weekend, but a couple of useless links?

Phone tree guide - to talk to a real person. I think most of them respond to "jab zero many times."

John Bonham

which member of led zeppelin r u? (with pics always)
brought to you by Quizilla
Why I live like a monk.

Is it me? Or is this, like, you know, horribly [b]retro[/b]?

WSJ on Amazon and a suggest Amazon wants part of the digital music pie.

Ten best fictional Science Fiction movies. Or what wasn't made.

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12th Night
Subtitle "What you will," c.f. Act I, scene v, line 107.

At the State Theater, see listing for details.

"If you be mad, be gone, if you have reason be brief. 'Tis not the time of moon with me to make one in so skipping a dialogue." (Olivia, I.v.195-7)

Notes, culled from Bloom's text:
"Cheerfully secular, like almost all of Shakespeare, the play of "what you will" makes no reference to Twelfth Night." (Bloom, page 229)

"The hidden heart of Twelfth Night lies in Shakespeare's seriocomic rivalry with Ben Jonson, whose comedy of humors is being satirized throughout." (Bloom, page 228)

"... Viola prophesies her own imaginary sister in her own later dialogue with Orsinio." (Bloom, page 233)

"Olivia, properly played, can dazzle us with her authority, and with her erotic arbitrariness, but no audience conceives for her the affection it accords to Viola, disconcerting as Viola turns out to be." (Bloom, page 235)

"The genius of Twelfth Night is Feste, te most charming of all Shakespeare's fools, and the only sane character in a wild play." (Bloom, page 244)

Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. NY: Riverhead, 1998.

The Star-studded DVD version, released in 1996 is amazing. But as I was watching Trevor Nunn's movie version, excellent movie version, I realized, as I hit the pause button, I figured out that the screen play was based on the play, but that movie didn't exactly follow all the scenes, plus there were a few lines cut.

(Not that this doesn't happen a lot in movie versions, like most Hamlets, Henry V and Midsummer Night's Dream, to point out a few.)

However, the movie version, why I didn't see this on the big screen, I don't know, but that version is astounding. Plus, a perfect love story for Valentine's day - when I watched it first.

See, Viola is a in love with the duke Orsino, who is in love with Olivia, who is in love with Viola, only Olivia thinks Viola is Ceasario. Malvolio thinks he loves Olivia, but he's just foil for Sir Toby Belch and friends. It's a very crazy set-up. Sword fights and fisticuffs, shipwreck and mistaken identity, plus, of course, a little gender-bending. Add to that, the idea that a girl gets to be a guy for a little while, and as such, she (as a he) gets to hear our (as a male) side of the story. Confused? They live happily ever after. Except for Malvolio, who wears he'll be revenged upon the pack of them.

Line I want to remember?
He hath been most notoriously abus'd.

At the State Theater:
The heart-breaking note is that the play's audience was barely there. One of Shakespeare's most amusing plays, a really fine production, and so sparse an attendance. I've already got tickets to see it again - it's that good. Almost embarrassing for Austin, with what should be a lively theater scene, for such an opening night to be thinly populated with patrons.

The dramaturge introduced herself and noted that this was the first performance in front of a live audience. Plus it's the first union between the State Theater's group (I forget the name) and the UT (something acting) department.

Perusing the program, I found out that Viola is 1) from McAllen, TX, and 2) a graduate acting student. Plum role, as Viola. Cherry role. Whatever, some kind of delicious, ripe fruit. The rest of the cast was a mix, but it tended heavily towards graduate acting students, as the dramaturge's brief intro mentioned, plus, she's a grad student, too. I think she noted that the crew was still studying and taking notes, up to an hour before the show. Yeah, well, like the play, things are not what they seem to be.

I thought about it as a I walked back to the trailer park. I was looking for that one key, the hook, the single element that I could use to judge the performance. I figured it out: it's a question, really, and the last time I was so moved by a Shakespeare play was an all-male cast of Midsummer Night's Dream, wherein I fell in love with a character. Guy, it was a guy in a dress, and not a very pretty guy at that. I wasn't in love with the guy, no, it was his character, and that's what happened again at the show.

Did I fall in love with Viola, yet again?

This is the third or forth time I've seen this on stage, and about the third time I've fallen for Viola/Ceasario. By the very end of the play, I was swooning for Viola.

The opening scene wasn't "by the book," and seemed to borrow a little from someplace; however, once Malvolio hit the stage, his facial expressions, perhaps a little over-acted, started the flow, and from that point on, the hook was set.

So the first couple of minutes were a little rough, but by the time I wandered back in from the interval, the cast (I'm guessing crew, too) pulled together in a coherent unit. In short, wonderful show.

If I have one problem with the play, and as I've already quoted Bloom about the subject of Feste the Clown, it's that he was dressed in a shabby linen suit. I understand that it was period piece, but just once, I'd like to see Feste in a jester's cap. But that doesn't matter, as the actor did a perfect job with the role.

The note from Bloom about Olivia, I'll give the scholar his due on that, and the grad student playing Olivia did an excellent job. In part, though, to me, anyway, she was almost like a minor character.

Partly because I'd just gone through the text again, I was familiar with the play. Partly because I'd just watched a good movie version, I was familiar with the plot. Partly because I'd stopped at a favorite coffee shop on the way to the theater, I was in an excellent frame of mind. But most of all, after the stuttering first minutes, the cast themselves, and the crew, I'm sure, did a near perfect job of taking me away from Austin, off to some strange land, where everyone spoke in iambic pentameter, and they all lived happily ever after.

A really good show, and it's impossible to tell the students from the professionals. Most near, anyway.

As some kind of a footnote, what Bloom alluded to about the play being a satire pointed at Jonson? The elements were even more clear in the play than in the movie version; hewing to the script, I'm sure.


Along the way
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.

"Well-being is good luck, or good character."
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book VII, #7

i. To keep on living (you should be used to it by now)
ii. To end it (it was you choice, after all)
iii. To die (having met your obligations)

Those are the only options. Reason for optimism.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book X, #22

(attributed to some Eye-talian feller)

Tangled up in blue:
"Lord knows I've paid some dues gettin' through...
Tangled up in blue

"I helped her out of jam I guess,
But I used a little too much force....

"We'll meet again some day on the avenue
Tangled up in blue

"All the while I was alone, the past was close behind.
I seen a lot of women, but she never escaped my mind
Tangled up in blue"

Bob Dylan, "Tangled up in blue" album

Advertising inspired:
Name: Kramer Wetzel
Childhood ambition: to be a writer
Favorite retreat: Fishing
Biggest Challenge: my job
Greatest Joy: my job
First job: Diary Queen
Last Purchase: double espresso
Favorite movie: Repo Man

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Viva Las Vegas
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Where the Buffalo Roam, Leaving Las Vegas, The Cooler, Bugsy. Las Vegas: then and now...

Viva Las Vegas!

How do they know that?
Scary real estate estimator.

Masculine ending:
It's like, a grammar point, or something.

Last of the search engine entries:
It's turning up again and again from this entry, I'm guessing, it's this image:



Odd bits
History, images, music.

Story about a WW II German site - defense installation, over the coast of France. I'm a lot less enthused with WW II history, or rewriting history, but what struck me the most about the tale, was the how far we've come with our methods of killing each other. Then consider, too, how much more minutiae, in excruciating detail, is currently available, for any given theater.

As quick as it happens, the feelings, reactions, atrocities and the ugliness of armed combat is now available.

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Dissonant memories:
Too nice to be inside, any problems with this week's scopes, like typographical errors? Sorry, but Wednesday afternoon was too nice to be inside. Along the north shore, there's a sign about cleaning up after your dog, or something. What caught my eye was the graffiti, not sure it shows up, but the sign was marked with a "Gomer."


There's also a large circular object, like a giant tether ball, anchored in the middle of the lake. In reality, it marks shoals, but I always get an image of Patrick McGoohan in a Lotus Seven, and the question, "Who is Number One?" (Might have obscure TV trivia all backwards).

"I'll be your new Number Two."

I cross the pedestrian bridge almost daily, as it's most the convenient route from trailer park to downtown. I've tried several times, but this is the first time that I think I've finally caught the image of some of the graffiti, look closely, does it say, "Gomer," as well?


So I got to poking through the web, to find a long-lost sound, I think the band must've been "El BJ," and the song was "Gomer Pyle is God,"

But it's gone. However, the graffiti kept bring back the memories.

The dissonance comes from what happened next, I hit iTunes, no band or anything similar, but I did find a heavy-metal version of "Devil Went Down to Georgia," the CDB fiddle classic.
Then a hip-hop version. So I've got the Gourds doing "Gin'n'Juice" followed with some midwestern hip-hop group doing "Devil went down to Georgia."

Update on the phone spam:
Country Wide Mortgage, after I was told I wouldn't receive any more calls, "You'll be placed on on our 'do not call list' (promise?)" has called two more times. If you have a choice? Realize that they spend their time and your money marketing to the wrong people. Plus, they seem to make false promises.

No more calls? Twice in one week?

Perfect coffee
To be honest, this one looked better than it tasted. Not the right beans, I'm guessing, not that optimal roast I occasionally encounter. However, look at that little double shot of espresso, perfect presentation. Perfect. Looks just like a mini-glass of Guinness. Only better, at least, as far as I'm concerned. We all have our idiosyncrasies.


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Recipe for success
My simple rules, seem to work well for me, "Hi, you are a (insert sign here) and some of the general characteristics of that sign are (generalities go here).

I am often maligned by Scorpio folks - unjustifiably so - but the deal is, if you're, for example only, a Scorpio, then be a Scorpio. Embrace that smoldering, taciturn effect you have.

Scorpio's aren't really intense, it's just that everyone else is shallow.

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There's a picture, most recently, I've seen it on the cover the Johnny Cash Album, Cash. Man in black, with a guitar case, walking away. I know I've been exposed to this image a number of times, in varying degrees and different locations.

But first, a word from our sponsor:


I keep imagining I can do an image like that, something similar, maybe shared elements. Only, I'm not about to pose with a guitar case. Not going to happen. I get enough "musician" and "guitar player" comments as it is. No need to make it any worse, and frankly, in my case, that would be false advertising.

Maybe with laptop in tow? But doesn't the image lose its effectiveness when there's a bright shirt? I hit the b & w button, but that doesn't really change the timbre and tone. Still doesn't work.
image image

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There's still something missing, and I'm unsure of what captivates and intrigues the audience. What type of image is emblematic of a wandering sol like me?

Chip's music
Ripping Vinyl is not something I set out to do. What thrilled me, other than him taking the time to catalog the albums, in my mind, I saw the album covers. Many of those albums have memories. Some place along the line, there's a change in taste for music, but there's still a thread, and a casual count suggests I could describe song/title/art work for about 70% of the music.

Looking at the list, I was trying to figure out where I was when I first heard a song. Where I was when a song first started to get air play. Did I own the album, or was I just exposed to it?

The list is weirder now, because some of the tunes have surfaced again. Sister bought me my first iPod, and I after experimenting with it a little, I just left it plugged into the stereo, to the point that I'm considering dumping my CD player. New music gets ripped and plugged into a list.

One of the first gadget I picked up was a some sort of an attachment that lets a turntable be hooked up to a mac, just for ripping vinyl. Not going to happen, either. Takes way too long. Too labor intensive, and most of the material that I would want either download , or just buy the CD. Again.

[style=floatpicleft]image [/style]Music is more important now, more so than before. Perhaps it's the weather, high, clear skies, not quite 70 degrees, where it's cold in the shade but warm in the sun. Perhaps it's because the fish really aren't biting anything to speak of. Or maybe it's because I've got careful selection of upbeat music that keeps me trucking along.

Antique 70's, "modern" 80's, hair/grunge 90's, and then, post-modern classics.

That list of vinyl, though, it also made me wonder about doing a personality profile, based on what music was formative for person, from a particular time.

There's something lacking in much of the recent, post Y2K material. It's product, not always art. There's a sad lack of spirit, more about moving units and less about the art itself.

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I've got to remember to let Chip borrow my Firesign Theater acquisitions. And some Aerosmith. And ELP. Save him the trouble. Bach and Beethoven, too. Weird coincidence there. And Yes. Wished I had the Jethro Tull catalog, but I'm not sure that's one I'll re-acquire.

The 8-mile marker is actually in East Austin, alongside Lakeshore Drive. And I'm guessing I really did more like nine or ten miles, but who's counting? I was bemoaning the fact that more modern music lacks a certain soulfulness, but an odd coincidence happened. I'd left the downtown post office, and I was just cutting through the Music Hall's parking lot, across the bridge and down to the trial, when a Chemical Brother's "song" came up.

I saw them perform, in the Music Hall, couple of years ago. The crowd left me a little bewildered, but the music was every bit as good, and so excellent to see it live.

So maybe, I'm not sure, but maybe, some of the post-modern, post-punk, post-"having a name and taxonomy" music still strives to have soul, art and soul.

Or I could be all wrong.

Countrywide Home Loans
These people started calling me - automated - about once or twice a week. Friday afternoon, my cell phone buzzed, awoke me, disturbed the cat, and it was another automated message asking me to please update my mortgage information with them so my insurance would be current.

Pissed me off. Pissed me off, bad.

I did a quick web search and came up with this as the contact information:

Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.
4500 Park Granada,
Calabasas, CA 91302

I called, asked nicely to be removed from the automated voice notification, seeing as how I don't have a mortgage with Country Wide, nor, for that matter, do I ever plan to have a mortgage with Country Wide.

Cell phone. Unlisted. Not available. Used for clients. If you're calling on the cell, you're either family, damn near family, a close personal friend, or a client. I'm figuring, it's an advertised rate, $120 per phone call, for Country Wide.

At that rate, we're now over a thousand dollars, yes, they've called me that many times. For starters, it's a blocked number, and secondly, it's a work number.

The first two or three times, it was a sales call, soliciting my business. Just irritated me. But then, the tune changed, to another, kind of message, "This is an automated notification from Country Wide Mortgage (whatever), reminding you to update your insurance information...."

I. Don't. Have. A . Mortgage. With. This. Company.

Friday afternoon, I lost it. I did a quick web search, located the toll-free number, called and asked, politely, after jacking with the automated phone tree, to be removed from the call list.

As I was reading off the cell number, the operator said, "Oh, you're in Austin, yeah, we're just up in Dallas...."

We completed the transaction, with a promise that I would be immediately placed on the "do not call" list.

30 seconds later, cell phone buzzes. Automated message from Country Wide. This is not good public relations - at all. Very bad.

I was livid. I dialed back 1-866-466-3702, and punched at the phone until I got very timid voice. I had to speak up to be heard, and then I let loose with a torrent of obscene words about removing me from the list.

"If you can't stop swearing, I'll have to disconnect the call, sir."

That's what I wanted.

I called again, 30 seconds later, and played phone tree bingo until I got another operator. He sensed my rage, and bumped me up to a manager to help solve the problem.

The problem is, the company is calling, asking me to update something I don't have. And they don't get it. All they're doing is pissing me off.

Three is a charm, correct?

Apparently not.

Monday afternoon, I got another call from 1-866-466-3702 Country Wide Mortgage asking me to please update my mortgage insurance so we would be current, otherwise my rate might go up.

I don't have a mortgage, much less one with Country Wide.

I got two more calls from them Monday afternoon, which I didn't answer. I don't know if it was them, or if it was an important call from overseas, as the cell showed "no number," but I wasn't taking any chances.

Download the video, it's an M-60 doing 850 rounds in less than two minutes. I can think of a call center in Dallas that would be a much better target.

Think Danish
[style=floatpicright]image[/style]Seems like a lot of furor has been raised about some cartoons. Now, I wonder, can I call a holy war on California, because it houses the animation studios that foisted a stereotype of Texas, an egregious misnomer of epic proportions, can I get a "hell yeah" for a war on the unbelievers in Southern California because what they say about us? Blame the skewed lens of Hollywood?

A short op-ed piece called, "we are all Danes now" sparked my interest.

We may have our kooks and nut-jobs, but at least, even our kooks and nut-jobs are usually willing to laugh at themselves. And that applies to California and Texas.

On writing:
I've ben wrestling a horoscope to the page, so to speak, for the better part of a week. I had one scope, just about 200 words, to finish. Something that'll be lightly tossed off in the near future as so much filler, but I've been working hard on it for the past few days, off and on. The self-discipline to sit down and write, examine the charts, plot the stars (planets & moon, mostly), extract meaning, and get a coherent theme? Tough job. I enjoy it mostly, but the one scope just wasn't getting finished.

Woke up early, fed my princess, poured coffee, and looked at the empty scope. Read something online. Read more stuff. Worked with the charts, watered the plants. Answered the phone. Returned a call. Tried the cell company and the phone number thing again. Made out a check to pay a bill. Got to remember to buy stamps.

I had a reading due at 5, and I didn't get around to finishing the scope until a few minutes before. When I reflected on this, stuck in tiny domicile, all day, one of my own choosing, I guessed this is what it must be like to be in a cubicle. Only more commute time.

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Just a comic note:
Or notes from the comics, but about covers my ideas of road food.

On reading:
Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko. Partially, I'm rereading this because I was looking for something to help anchor my imagination for the coming months. All I could remember about the text - I've got an original hardback 1st edition - was magical realism and magical prose.

My introduction to Silko's cannon of work, of course, started with Ceremony, which I've tried to reread several times, but it just doesn't work. I can't recall all the details, but two or three of the authors from that time, they all run together in my memories.

Sunday evening, I read all of about 50 pages in a little over an hour. I'm sure I had other distractions, too, like the cat sleeping on me, or the computer burping about messages, but I was enthralled and engrossed.

Like a really good cigar, the prose to Almanac of the Dead has to be rolled around in my mouth. I can't just go ripping through it. Characters, conversations between characters, shifting points-of-view, gender misidentification in the middle of a stream-of consciousness thought, and a sprawling narrative that covers the West.

Years later, I read that the Silko took ten years to write the book. Can't find that link now. But it fits. I saw her speak at a poetry reading a year or two before the book was released. Can't give many details other than she was dressed in all black, and she had long, black hair, and deep brown eyes. Rumors connected her - romantically - to Larry McMurtry. Again, other than the dedication, "To Larry," in the front of the book, I can't validate that either way.

So far, and I'm not long into the book, there's a cast of many, bikers, smugglers, border rouges of every sort. It's very good reading, but not something I'll accomplish in a night, or a week, or maybe even in a month. There's no hurry, just reduces the number of books I'll read since this one is long.

What I do recall, as I'm rereading it, was there was something formative about the text.
"War had been declared the first day the Spaniards set foot on Native American soil, and the same war had been going on ever since: the war was for the continents called the Americas." (page 133)

Top of the Pops
Should be an entry about old men.

My farther, Pa Wetzel, as he is referred to, was in town. He had some kind of business to attend, meetings and seminars, then we picked him up for coffee, a movie, and later, for breakfast.

I'd go on and on about the movie, "Good night and good luck," but I'm sure it's covered by others. In part, though, listening to my father talk about the time, the proceedings, and his recollections was good. What he liked, what he didn't like.

The singular event, though, was the coffee shop. Pop has a new walker he's using, the post-polio stress is finally catching up. He'd been to see a physical therapist, had bunch of tests, and the therapist told Pa, I got this third-hand, "that he shouldn't even be walking, but, she'd seen many of the polio survivors do things that she shouldn't be able to do."

So in the typical Austin hang-out, Pa was just wheeling around on his walker, sporting a jaunty Fedora, wearing a shirt Sister made. Sartorial splendor might be hereditary. I'm ordering drinks, Pop wheels around, checks it all out, then motors outside to get a table. Two women, I'd suspect much younger than him, pay special attention to him, then get up before I've ordered drinks, and wander outside, pausing to flirt with my father.

Out of my control for all of a minute, and his picking up women. I wonder if I should tell my mother.

Sunday night, after Pa had called to let me know he was first in Waco, then all the way home, I was clicking around, trying to avoid football news. I hit a local Sagittarius web-journal, one that I'll read from time to time because the stories, although intermittent, can be quite captivating. There's a way that some writers can just spin a yarn that I so enjoy. Fleming's Bait, next to "Mom's Baitstand."


But first, a word from our sponsor:

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Lightening bugs
It's not like a lightening bolt that sizzles and then leaves a scorched mark, although that has been said about me, but no, this is about the constant flickering of a tiny point of light. I figured something out.

But first, a word from our sponsor:
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Unrelated: iPod etiquette at the office, no less? Unrelated: Why there is no "mail - list" here. Hate to state the obvious: But it's okay if our national media parodies our president, not to mention, our faiths, but it's not okay to parody their faith?

Good Lord, where I live? The Southern Babtists oftentimes parody themselves with no outside assistance required. From the junk mail files: 2 Canadian pharmacies promised good deals on dope, 4 offered some kind of substance guaranteed to enhance sexual stamina, 3 offered pictures of young ladies doing things that would require chemically enhanced stamina, and Country Wide Mortgage offered a refinance deal. Wait, Country Wide called me, that wasn't mail. But the mortgage offers did come through as junk mail, too - pretty even split on the numbers. And one offer too good to be true - from Nigeria. Stickers: I'm accustomed to seeing a fair number of the W with a red circle and slash through the circle, the ubiquitous "No W" sign stickers. I'm used to seeing a number of the "W" (white on black sticker) with a small "The President." stickers, too. A new one's cropped up lately, two versions, "K" and underneath it? "The Governor." Or, a slightly better version? "F" and under it, "Kinky Friedman."

I think the best would be the letter "F" and under it, just "The Governor."

I banged together some ideas and did a quick sketch for a sticker for me. But should it be the letter K for Kramer? Or better yet, just a Sagittarius arrow, like I like? 2/3
It's game, and we can all play along, via the diminutive but highly-esteemed Leo .
Four Things

Four jobs I’ve had
1. Truck driver
2. Bartender
3. Student Staff Writer
4. Fishing Guide to the Stars

Four movies I can watch over and over
Repo Man
Henry V
3. Clerks
4. Duck Soup

Four places I have lived
1. Albuquerque, NM
2. Dallas, TX
3. Phoenix (Tempe, really), AZ
4. Austin, TX

Four places I’ve vacationed
1. London, UK
2. Las Vegas, NV
3. Rockport, TX
4. Seattle, WA

Four of my favorite dishes
1. Blackened Redfish (fish I caught)
2. Gingerbread Pancakes
3. Most near [b]anything[/b] served with tortillas and hot sauce, like #4
4. Manchaca Breakfast Platter

Four sites I visit daily
1. astrofish.net
2. macintouch
3. "get fuzzy" cartoon
4. slash dot

Four places I would rather be right now
1. Fishing
2. fishing
3. fishing
4. fishing

Four people I am tagging

1. fredlet
2. Bubba
3. Greg
4. (your name here)


Search terms
These are just sample search terms, gleaned from the server's log files.

astrofish.net? Hmm, AOL, figures.

astrofish xenon? Wouldn't it be easier to type in the browser?

xenon? In Japanese?

Worm-glo? I should check the IP on that, bet I know who that is.

Beginning of the end? Churchill quote.

sxsw guidelines - this one stumps me, how I got such a good rating on that.

st bernard of mountjoux? Loathe as I am to use the initials, but that get a great big WTF.

Holly Street Power Plant Fishing. That's the only one that makes any kind of sense. Yes, I've fished there.

Alberta Oil Sands, 60 Minutes? Exept, I wasn't interested in Alberta, just Kinky.

Train hopping in El Paso? Nope, not me. Wrong number.

Duck Fajitas? That's one I can certainly get - had 'em, loved 'em.

Worst horoscopes? Ever? Sure. Got to be number one at something.

Either that, or "sxsw guidelines" and "duck fajitas."

The little things
Walk a mile in my shoes - Austin on foot. 8 mile afternoon?
But first, a word from our sponsor:

New Mile Markers:
[style=floatpicleft]image[/style]I'm unsure that I like the capital expenditure on the new mile markers, but I did catch a few on the camera I had with me. It was a thoroughly uneventful afternoon. I poked at some horoscopes, poked at some writing, but I wasn't getting results that mattered to me. I threaded a worm on hook, and tossed it in the lake, chatted with a neighbor briefly, but no one was interested in what I was offering. Sun was out, and while I was fishing, I peeled out of the t-shirt I had on, the wan February sun warming my back, offset by decent north wind, with twinges of winter still in its teeth.

A cancelation meant that it was time to hit the trail, literally. Austin's Hike and Bike Trail is a miracle in an urban space. Just south of downtown, in fact, bordering downtown in places, the eastern half - more like a third - is largely underused and under appreciated. Wide open spaces, playgrounds, basketball hoops by the power plant, just a nice jaunt on a winter's afternoon.

To be sure, I wasn't having a good hair day, with my back to the wind, but that didn't interrupt the experience. Sun was out. Fish - and clients - weren't biting. I recently rearranged the iPod with an ear to "marching music," and as such, I was marching along, merrily marching along.

Johnny Cash's "Hey Porter," and a good train song, I guess. Over the earbuds, I could hear a lonesome whistle, as some kind of eastbound freight train was edging its way through, a few blocks from me. Nice when the tracks line up like that.

I rounded the bend for the eastern terminus of the trail, the Longhorn Dam, and the winds seemed to funnel down the river's channel, adding a chill. Might've been the sunburn I was getting, too. Ted Nugent was screaming over his guitar, "just what the doctor ordered", as I struck off across the thin grass, between the lake's edge and Lakeshore Drive. An ambulance, really, EMS, went screaming by at full volume.

I've got a new (cheap) digital camera, and it takes a special kind of cord. I was heading towards the Radio Shack, there on Riverside Drive, and I noticed the emergency vehicle was parked in front of one of the Mexican restaurants. I was just unplugging the earbuds, as the Chemical Brothers were finishing up "Out of control".

A motorcycle cop, a squad car, and EMS were there. I caught a fragment of the conversation with the patient, "So what do you like to drink? Beer? Wine?" Apparently, the reality-impaired person liked vodka. I'm guessing, just a judgement call on my part, but the state and condition of the patient suggested he was also dwelling-impaired. I took a seat inside, and watched the proceedings. The officials were actually, so it seemed through the glass, quite patient with the patient. One EMS guy kept a (gloved) hand on the guy's shoulder, a good touch.

Conversation I overheard, inside the restaurant: "Man, I haven't had this much to drink ever. I've been out every night since I got here, only threw up once."

Outside, the patient was carted off to some place, possibly a hospital. War: "Spill the wine," although, Low Rider might be more culturally correct.

I drank a quart of tea, had some chips, a little Carne Guisada, and shuffled next door to Radio Shack, to the tune Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla." "History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men."

I pulled out the camera, and for the second or third time, no cord that matches the tiny plug on the damn (cheap) camera. Back, out on the street, across the bridge for a second time, headed towards the north shore, then down the long pedestrian ramp, and along the north shore. In a Big Country, "I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert/But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..." I think I played that one twice, winter time music.

According to the map, it's one mile even from the I-35 bridge to Congress Ave., along the hike and bike trail. Joe Ely, singing about about Billy the Kid, then asking if I'm listening, Lucky, Jimi Hendrix with Johnny B. Goode, Deep Purple's Highway Star, just as a young hooligan raced by on a trick bike.

Downtown. ZZ Top, Concrete and Steel.

I fetched myself a small (iced) espresso, wandered home, and then, the original intent, was to put together a short a video clip of the experience.

The first cut.
(2 min. 7.5 mb, mpeg-4, whatever that means)

Video Killed the Radio Star?

Fact & fiction (in horoscopes & elsewhere)
Fact, fiction and friction - full disclosure.

Spurred by the success of a million little lies....

[style=floatpicright]image[/style]One of the first tasks I did was fact-check some of my upcoming material. I had an opening quote that didn't look quite right, and sure enough, I had a typographical mistake in it. The big stink over the one author, turns out he had fictionalized his memoir, that was what prompted me to look over the new material with a careful eye.

I recall, only happened twice with one brand-name set of horoscopes, and then, once on another "free" horoscope site, when a planet was incorrectly placed. Plus, it's not like I haven't made the same mistake myself, but I do tend to catch those errors before they occur.

In some of the background material I looked at for the book in question, as it turns out, the manuscript was originally shopped as fiction. Didn't sell. Didn't garner any interest. But posited as a true story, it did well. That plus a healthy dose of publicity, via the previously referenced Oprah TV thing.

Another sound byte, clipped from some talking head to another, "Would you read another book by this author?" (The one who lied.)

No, actually, I wouldn't. But I wold suggest picking the book up at a used bookstore, locally owned and operated, as the author makes no (more) money from that sale. However, the sale itself does benefit the local economy in a book-reading way.

When I ask a waitress what her birthday is, or when I see familiar face in crowd and identify that person by sign, rather than by name, I'm in the clear because no confidential information has been traded. And when I write a horoscope that points to a particular instance, oftentimes, this might come as a shock, but the names and sometimes the signs, are switched.
There's an upcoming scope where the person in question, a fishing buddy, is credited with being one sign, when in fact, he's another sign. However, I happen to know that his rising sign and therefore the horoscope matches.

But I don't package my material as fact. It's all fiction. Just because I happen to live in Austin, and I did happen to be walking Wednesday afternoon in the rain, and because I did have an exchange with a couple of neighbors, maybe someone at the post office, and that homeless guy on the street? Or that one girl at the store?

It's covered in the fine print, "Any resemblance to a person or persons, living, dead or imaginary, is purely coincidental."


Oh please, the issue should be dead by now. But wait, it lives. Instead of marketing it as a memoir, though, shouldn't it be "based on a true story" kind of sale?

I've been reading and writing, particularly on the web, for a long enough time to realize that there's usually a shred of truth in a tale, but sometimes, it's just full of sounds and fury, told by an idiot.

The other question, publicity? They just printed another 100,000 copies? Even bad publicity is better than no publicity, I guess.

New month
New expectations.

But first, a word from our sponsor:

Civilization Ho!
It had to happen. Sooner or later. I'm sure I made note of this in a previous entry, but when I opened up the mail today, there was a key, and that meant the post box had a package. While it's no means complete, I do have CD copies of a couple of the older Firesign Theater recordings now.

Which, unfortunately, added many minutes to my preparation to get out the door, as I had to clear some space on the little iPod, delete some songs, rip the three CDs, transfer the content over to the iPod, and then I was good to go.

Weird bit of personal history, one summer, I had a tape recorder on loan, with about three or four hours of the aforementioned Firesign Theater's material. Three or four albums, maybe more. You know, famous for such titles as Don't Crush that Dwarf, hand me the pliers, Waiting for the electrician or someone like him, and I think we're all Bozos on this bus.

Look: Firesign Theater is not for everyone. In my mind, as I was hearing at all again after a many years, it sounded like an old radio program. One of the albums is only two cuts, and as an album, that made sense, labeled, "This side" and "The other side." Loses something on CD, or worse, as digital music.

The content, as I was meandering along, I kept smiling, almost biting, almost deep, references that cut across more than one layer, from pop culture to literature, to history, it reminded me of certain authors I've read. It more than "spoken word," but less than a video. Born in a time when video wasn't yet a medium, still a small.

In conclusion:
I was digging along through the reefer log, and I kept getting new links to the web journal, and then there's an expectation that goes with that kind of linking. Like, expecting a well-written and coherent post every day. If I could do that? I'd do it. but some days, it's just not like that at all.

Either there's not a lot going on, or that's not a lot that I care to write about. Nothing that grips my attention.

I've consistently turned out a weekly column for over a decade now. Always fresh, no repeats. In the grander scheme, I don't have to worry about a planet repeat for what, 26,000 years?

The problem is, even with the kind words and new inbound traffic, some days, there's just not a lot to say.

One day last weekend, I stumbled into a demonstration and march of some sort. At first, I going to deal with the folks with certain degree of respect, as I watched several aged gentlemen, resplendent in dark purple sashes, parade along. I think one emblem flying from a flag had a cross and a sword.

Then I got to look at the rest of the banners - anti-abortion rally.

While I respect their organization, and while I respect their right to have a demonstration, I'm certainly uninterested in their cause. It's not about apathy on my part, it's about what should - and shouldn't - be legislated.

There's a very dark vein of humor that runs through this question, too, the very idea that a government can tell a woman what to do with her body, and how that's, to me, just wrong. Not even ours to legislate, especially, considering that the "legislative body" is more male than female. I'm just surprised that more (rational) people don't see it this way. Not ours (as males) to dictate.

But that's my black humor, too. I never said I was right, just that it's my way of seeing the question.

More shards

There's a tiny shard, like an archeologist, teasing the maximum amount of information from the tiniest shred of evidence, I've got the smallest fragment of a memory.

The place was a carpet warehouse, and the name of the cabaret was Nick's Uptown.
Herbie Hancock, the jazz master, doing something on stage with there dancing legs, a DJ 'scratching' and keyboards. Don't recall the rest. One night, a long time ago.

Or the old Ford, burning through through the night, the
Sultan of Swing, on the stereo, "It's not what they call rock and roll..."

Libra at Little City: "I'm the edge of an empty highway, howling at the blood on the moon."

I was making idle conversation with the Libra as he was pouring us some coffee, "I mean, I'm from Oregon. You can't go to Portland, it's too close. Seattle is too much like Oregon, only more so, and California? Can't go there - everyone in Oregon despises California. So I wound up in Austin."

The Grateful Dead were lyrically reminding me, "Since I came down from Oregon, there's a lesson or two I've learned." (Pride of Cucamonga - song and album probably predate the guy working at the coffee shop.) Townes Van Zandt: "That old White Freightliner going to haul away my mind."
(White Freightliner Blues)


"What am I doing with my soul?
"Interrogate yourself and find what inhabits your so-called mind and what kind of soul you have now. A child's soul, an adolescent's, a woman's? A tyrant's soul? The soul of a predator - or its prey?"
(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book V, #11)

Ghost riders
"Ghostriders in the Sky" (The Outlaws) was playing in the background when I thought of this. I've heard a sound byte from Bart Simpson, a true scion of American arts & letters, and the clip said something like, "23 minutes and 40 seconds," although, doing this from memory, it's a little difficult. But that was the average amount of "show" in a half hour Simpson's episode.

Round that up, 24 minutes in half an hour of eyeball time. Not bad numbers, but I have no way of knowing how this breaks down. only, I'm wondering, if I paid to have cable delivered to my trailer, why must I also endure the advertising? At least 20% of the viewing time on "normal" TV, be it cable, local, or otherwise, is going to be advertising.

And that's me, guessing at the numbers. I'm not even sure if it's a valid figure.

So I was working on a "pop-under" for the free horoscopes, last week's news, and I haven't even come close to implementing it yet, as I find such advertising simply horrible, but the Ghost Riders made me think about that Bart quote.

Instead of 20%, like skim milk, isn't "less than 2%" a better deal?

Ghost Riders in the Sky:
The Outlaws
Duane Eddy
Johnny Cash
Marty Robbins
Roy Clark
Dick Dale

There's a haunting ZZ Top B-side, from "back in the day," that I can't shake.


Musical interlude
I've maintained, for some time now, that the "americana slash roots rock slash alt-country slash Texana slash what-ever" music crowd should go back to the original source for some of the material. Yeah, had to work in a Grateful Dead allusion, didn't I?

On top of the Dead, there's also a side project that was pretty cool, New Riders of the Purple Sage. Yes, I saw them live, once or twice. Don't ask, I wasn't exactly coherent. I might not be coherent now, but that's not part of the question.

Some of the Dead sat in with NRPS, at one point or another, and the NRPS claims it's the inception of the "psychedelic cowboy" movement, or some such wording. Music came on when I clicked on the website, I didn't dig too far, just pointed.

Still, as I was listening to some of the music, then doing a late-night iTunes search I stumbled across a recent release of NRPS, taped at the long-gone but not-forgotten Armadillo. Seems like stupid iTunes only carried "Panama Red" (the song), in the live version. Warning: could be operator error.

What was weird, I almost turned in to have a meal at Threadgill's World HQ, for an afternoon repast, when one of those NRPS songs cycled up. The Armadillo is gone. But its spirit lives on? In recorded music that's just now being re-released? From a Friday the 13th, in 1975?

The NRPS cuts, the two or three I've listened to, they're pretty good. Still, might just be living on Gin and Juice, like the Gourds.

Search engines and that trail.

Click before you e-mail that file.

No fish for you
I was hoping to fish Saturday morning, seeing as how it was about the only morning I had free. As I was headed towards the post office downtown, just a little east of here, it looked like the sky was clearing. I was in shorts, sandals, looking forward to some really early spring-like action.

No such luck, but I'm guessing that the prayers for rain have been answered. When I finally looked over my shoulder, the big, oppressive clouds were rolling in thick, low and slow.

Predictions were for rain in the morning, then clearing on Sunday. And me, already booked for Sunday School.


I was turning into the greenbelt, sort of a shortcut home, and I snapped a shot of the sign. While I was going to use it for something else, a snippet of verse came back, "Whose woods these are/I think I know/His house is in the village though..." (Robert Frost, I'm thinking.)

Policy: links to and from astrofish.net
I've got a couple of guidelines that I follow for linking in the horoscopes. Plus, to be honest, the links are, often as not, merely a reminder of something I've seen. I'm not out to get anyone in trouble, that's for sure.

I've erased links once or twice, at the request of readers. I've not gone back and changed text, even when I've been wrong, as I think that's kind of cheating. If it's a mistake or a link buried in the archives, it'll probably stay there, unless I get some sort of legal document, in the form of a threat, and thus far, I haven't had a problem.

I'm sure that the legal definitions and more specifically, my ass, is covered by the copious fine print, which is also an End User Legal Agreement, includes the privacy policy, as well as terms of service.

In the unlikely event that it's not clear, if you're reading this, you made it past the first page, and anything after that? My rules.

Part of the fine print stipulates that any site linked from astrofish.net is the responsibility of the person clicking on the link. Often as not, I don't condone, endorse, or even suggest that you try whatever it is that is linked. That site has its own rules. You left here. You're on your own. Some sites linked from astrofish.net might contain harsh words, satire, parody, nudity, illegal scams, or just plain dumb stuff. Some of it might be Not Safe For Work. In other words, maybe you shouldn't be on that site while the corporate trolls are looking over your shoulder.
Most important: the top two paragraph and the bottom two paragraphs. Can't say you weren't warned.

Where do you find the links?
All over the place, the more obscure, the better. I've often discovered interesting crap on the web by following a suggested link, sent in e-mail, and then, following that link someplace else. Other times, it's a pretty obvious connection with the message in the scope, and sometimes, well, it made sense when I was working on it.

If a blog has birthday attached to it, and if the author was interesting to me, caught my eye with a turn of the phrase, I tend to link from the signs. But that's about the only guideline I follow, and like the fine print suggests, I can revise my guidelines whenever I want to.

Inbound links?
Inbound is encouraged. Copying and pasting my text on another web page is not encouraged. I know a bored lawyer who's just hungry enough to make life miserable - and costly - for just such a transgression. However, deep linking to the scopes is welcome. For example, this index leads to the individual weekly scopes, which are then easy to access.

Free Flashback Music & more
I was poking around on iTunes, I don't know, looking for some song, and I forgot whatever artist it was I was looking for, then a piece of memory jerked loose in my head. "Will Powers." I clicked the search button.

Free music download. Free as of now, anyway, and wait, there's more, not only is some of it free, but it also includes the video, albeit, the video hasn't survived the test of time. So free on iTunes for a little while or something. Couldn't find it on Amazon, but check the liner notes here. Impressive line-up of artists, and it was a minor hit in the early 80's, if I recall, and I might not. Not like I'm clear on what happened at the time.

Bet that was cutting edge graphics, in the video, analog done to look digital. These days, it's digital done to look analog.

Poking around a little more, I did uncover the back end of the artist's story here.

Flashback reefers:
I've been waging a war, more than just one battle, behind the scenes, against trolls on the 'net - just about every techno-geek has experience with this. So as I was sorting through the referrals, once again, tracking (and blocking) individual IP addresses, I kept noticing a spike. It's driven by this link and it refers to something I wrote close to a year ago. I suppose I should update that information, a little.

Unrelated links:
I'm sure further research is needed.

New (and mean) crawdad discovered?

New CD from a personal favorite (and Sagittarius), Hank Williams III and it looks like a good album.

How it should have ended - click through to the archives.

Always a question. I was just finishing reading the historical fiction novel by Robert Harris, Pompeii, which is a good book, engagingly put together with modern volcano facts and a touch of romance, when I happened across a short passage, part of the main character's interior dialogue.
"And as for fate ... he did believe in fate. One was shackled to it from birth as to a moving wagon. The destination of the journey could not be altered, only the manner in which one approached it - whether one chose to walk erect or to be dragged complaining through the dust." (page 234)

It's just tawdry little historical fiction where the main character is an aquarius, not the sign, but the job - a water-bearer - an engineer. Set against the backdrop of the historical fact that Vesuvius blew its top and covered Pompeii. Good reading material.

Unsorted material
This week's scopes were a joy to write, if I recall. Played a little game with myself, and I'm not sure how it will go over, but it was fun, a challenge, for me. I might try and duplicate the process, after all, it amused me to no end, and that's part of the goal. The goal, really.

Useless trivia:
Just another way to display some fairly useless data. Shakespeare trivia, if you will.

I was digging through the "refer" log files, and I noticed a strange blip, the old cat movie was getting some traffic. And here, I didn't even think it was actively linked from anything.

"And yet no day without a deed to crown it."
(Shakespeare's Henry VIII, act V, scene v, line 65)

First step, big cash outlay, need money. Mouth is sore. Dog is fine. Cat is fine.

As the dentist was working on me, her assistant smeared a little lip balm on my stretched-open mouth.

I asked what color.

"Cherry Red. You looked like a 'summer,' you know...."

Walked home with no feeling on one side of my head, probably wearing bright red lipstick. Great. Just great.

imageTwo meat Tuesday
Bait & bandwidth
Take five? Some Tuesdays are just a little odd.

But first, a diversion:
The link is to "iTunes Signature Maker," which analyzes your iTunes' play lists, then does short signature file. Mine's here.

Bait & bandwidth
(Scrolling credit introduction - monster truck guitar solo)
Bait & Bandwidth
astrofish dot net

(Cut to Kramer, Fishing Guide to the Stars, at his desk)

Hi, I'm the author of Fishing Guide to the Stars, and the webmaster around here. Plus the busboy, and there are a few other tasks that get relegated to me as well. Hey, Ever notice that too many author's hide behind their keyboards and computer screens? Never get to really see what the author is like?

(Zoom to fish picture, push to Kramer at desk.)

A little bit of Shakespeare, a little bit of astronomy, a little applied astrology, sure, got it all here. Plus there's always a little bit of BBQ floating around. and maybe some Tex-Mex. It's got a flavor all its own.

"Fishing Guide to the Stars" has enjoyed a long run - over a decade now - at various web locations. But it costs a lot to keep this place going, and there are mouths to feed. Like the cat.

(Pan to cat & homeless sign, "Anything Helps." Push to Kramer.)

Bait and Bandwidth cost money. Good wishes and positive thoughts are nice, but the last time I checked, the banker said I couldn't deposit any of that. And the hosting company wasn't interested in doing this for free, either. Then there's the little guy who sells me bait. He won't take "good wishes" as a deposit.

(Pan to Worm-Glo and glo-worms. Push to Kramer.)

It's two dollars and ninety five cents for 30 days. Check around, that's a whole lot cheaper than any other premium service on astrology web site. The material here is up-to-date. And at that price? It's less than a ten cents per day. You decide.

"Bait the hook well: this fish will bite."
Claudio in Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing (II.iii.109)

- 30 -

Fade to black.


The other half:
I popped on around to meet with a client at a coffee shop. Long reading, and rather intriguing, for me, anyway. I pocketed the cash, and ambled off towards the BBQ place for a traditional Tuesday repast. Austin is in full winter regalia, the temp was touching 70, the sun was out, and the sky held only the thinest wisps of clouds. High overhead a jet cut a contrail at some altitude.

Sitting in the enclosed patio, parked on the thin line between shade and wan afternoon sunlight, under the spreading arms of a mature pecan tree, I perused the newspapers and munched on a rib, then wrapped up some brisket for the cat. A piece of bark fell into my ice tea. I looked up. More bits and pieces of wood chips rained down. I thought about this week's video 'cast, and how that fit with what was happening.

Overhead, a squirrel was nagging somebody.

Times just keep on rolling on. Cat cartoon that leads into a political comment.

Kinky Friedman:
It's no secret, is it? Kinky's running for Governor? He was on 60 Minutes Sunday night. Caught live, and I must admit, it was remarkable segment, but then, I haven't watched 60 Minutes in a few years. Many years. Long, long time. Something about oil sands in Canada, then Kinky.

I'll bet good money that Kinky will keep us out of a shooting match with Alberta. But that's hardly a campaign plank.

What I found amusing was the archive images of Kinky Friedman, the singer. Glam-country, rock slash country & western. Whatever.

Kinky is a very Scorpio Scorpio, not that it matters one tiny bit. However, and I've said this about Scorpio many times, if the Scorpio says that something will be done, it will get done. Trust? I can't think a politician, especially a professional politician, that I trust.

There was an excellent sound bite, and I didn't make a note, so I can't recall it exactly, but Kinky did point out that the longer a politician is a politician, the less effective the legislation.

I remember two points, and I'd have to suggest that I agree. All for prayer in public school, and all for gay marriage. Got a problem with that? I don't. At least there's no question as to where the guy stands on the issues.

I'm particularly enamored of the "No TEACHER Left behind" slogan, too.

rick Perry looks good. But he hasn't done much, and he's earned the moniker of "Gov. Good-Hair," which, in Kinky's defense, isn't a likely nickname.

Do we really need a cigar-smoking Governor? Yes. He will bring style, class, and willingness to actually address certain issues, like financing the school system.

Think about that slogan, "No teacher left behind." In order to address the problem children, it's best to start just a little further up the food chain, like the teachers.

Early in the segment, one normal-appearing person suggested that Kinky was not nice person, but he went on to suggest that Kinky was a lot better than the ne'er do wells currently in charge. kinky replied that he would take that as an endorsement.

Here's the deep clue: Jupiter. Jupiter is in Scorpio. I'm betting on a long shot here, but I'd put my money where my mouth is, and suggest that it wold be nice to get a breath of cigar-tainted air in the Governor's mansion for a couple of years. Shake up some of the politics.

He's got a tough road ahead, but if you're curious, he'll be on The Tonight Show, Wednesday night.

"Bait the hook well: this fish will bite."
Claudio in Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing (II.iii.109)

Super green night crawlers (Super Green night crawlers, what it's all about?) Train songs; Had to think of a few train songs. The aforementioned album Cash, has a couple of tunes. Then there's the Pop Life Doobie's cover, and of course, Lyle Lovett's cover of the Steve Fromholz truly epic Texas Trilogy. Bob Dylan's "City of New Orleans"?

"Hey Porter, hey porter..." (Johnny Cash)

"Folsom Prison Blues," ("But that train keeps a rolling on down to San Antone...")
New Riders of the Purple Sage, "Glendale Train."

Grateful Dead, "Casey Jones."

Cory Morrow, "21 Days on the Road,"
As the lyric suggest, I'm waking up the sidewalk, some place I've never been....

Woke up Sunday
I had a song stuck in my head, left over from a movie.

"Sunday morning coming down."

(Johnny Cash, from the soundtrack for the movie.)

On any Saturday?
I'll be at work, or so it seems.

New toys:
Updates to the apple software arrived, and that means I had to work on with it some. Just in time to do this.

Unrelated (or we could be related):
1 in 12 Irish are descended from one prolific dude.

"Striving to better, oft we mar what's well"
- Shakespeare's King Lear (I.iv.267)

There was an emotional high that started yesterday afternoon, as I passed the State Theatre, on Congress. On the marquee, the letters spelled out "SHAKESPEARE'S 12TH NIGHT," which, if I had to pick one, has to be one of the best comedies. Can't say that I'm not biased, though.

Me and that play have a bit of history, and I saw a traditional version, on stage in London, and that performance, by no means a definitive show, was a defining point in time - it all came together for me. Front row seat, where the actors & actresses spit & stumble, glower and glow, all in glorious close-up detail? It was a turning point. Epiphany, the heavens sang from on high, yeah, well, whatever.

There was a movie version with Helen (somebody), and I scoured eBay, plus other outlets, trying to find a copy of it on DVD, last time I looked, it wasn't available. Besides, 12th Night is a great play on stage. This royal chick is shipwrecked, pretends to be a boy, falls in love with the duke ude, and then, the chick, as a dude, woos this other chick, for the duke dude, only the other chick doesn't go for it. There's a jester, a stupid bit of nobility, and it's all hilarious. Love gone awry, plans thwarted, cross-dressing. Got it all.

State Theater, first guess was computer is trying to kill me?

Dreams: I woke up just as the sun was peeking in the window. In the night, the cat had moved from one side of the bed to the other side. I snapped out of the sleep state, awakened in a foul mood because of a nightmare. In my dreams, I was arguing with a CSR, felt like it was on the phone, but I could also see, in my mind's eye, the rep. Arguing about a bill. Arguing about a stupid bill that's not even due, except for some bureaucratic foul-up, slipped through the cracks of the machine, and from thence, downward to me.

As I was awakened, I knew I had to make sure I didn't get up on the wrong side of the bed since I was pissed off, and worse, this was what I woke up to. Not going to let a bad dream ruin a perfectly good day.

But I did vow to get on the phone to handle a phone bill situation, which wasn't related, but I kept thinking about it, and I kept thinking about Sagittarius. Not just any Sagittarius but I could call up about three, in my mind, who were all going through a specific astrological "transformation," and oddly enough, it's one I've been through before. Fraught with anger, displaced emotions, and too much energy, oftentimes, misdirected. Inbound mail: > To Whom It May Concern,
> I came across the cartoon on astrofish that you did on Worm-Glo.
> Myself and my husband are the inventors and owners of Worm-Glo.
> We LOVE the cartoon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In fact we LOVE it sooooo much
> that we are wanting to use the cartoon on our web-site, etc.  Please
> contact us so that we can arrange this.
> Legend Labs, LTD image

OMFG! the Worm Glo folks sought me out. but for the life of me, I couldn't fathom what cartoon the note referred to. After bouncing a few emails, I called. turns out, they're in Seguin, and I was just listening to "China Grove," coincidence? I think so.

The cartoon, and I had to get them to send me a link to my own stuff to find out what it was, is here.

We talked about business details and me getting them a better copy of the graphic for them to use, then we talked about fishing for about 45 minutes. I suppose, that's a problem in this line of work, the fishing stories, "No the fish hit almost as soon as the worm hit the water...."

From memory: "bait the hook well, this fish will bite."
(think it's from The Tempest act I or II, scene ii)

Midnight train to SA for work.

Sure Happy It's Thursday
It's about unreasonable expectations. I want war to stop. I want to see less suffering. End to global warming. Stop raping the earth to assuage short-term goals. Feed the hungry. And a lot more money in my pocket.

Theme songs:


For over two (2) years now, I've been recording and streaming a weekly live audio clip off this site, and each week, I've toyed with various audio samples, in the virtual studio, searching for a (legal) sound to call my own. A theme song. So far, several musicians have volunteered to cut just such a track, but so far, nothing's shown up.

What elements should be present? Space music? Spaced-out music? Owing to its roots, perhaps some of that Texas honky-tonk type of sound? A fiddle reel and a techno backbeat? Perhaps orchestration with a full kit would be best. The woody thump of a stand-up bass? The twang of lazy jazz guitar? Synthetic noises from a keyboard? Perhaps the gentle zephyrs of a harp, the stringed kind, or the blues, blown on a harp? Perhaps a sixties surfer sound?

I'm usually inspired by the opening bars to the legendary Spaghetti Westerns, but that's a bit overdone these days. I was going to steal some of that, but all I wound up doing was buying the CD.

I was making my way, downtown, from one coffee shop, towards the post office, and Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" came up on the play list. Not unusual, I mean, it's number 100-something on the shuffle setting. What was odd, about half a block away, there was a female form walking and swaying her hips. In my mind, and in my eyes, her hips swayed exactly to the music. I was aiming to include that vignette in a February horoscope, but alas, I couldn't work it out. As I crossed one street, she went one way and I went on towards my destination, and I'll never know. Age? Unsure. Gender? Good guess at half a city block. But this is Austin, one can never make assumptions.

I unplugged the ear buds as I wandered into the bookstore, an unintentional destination. I was looking for something new to read, preferably in paperback form, just something for the road this weekend.

"Kramer, hey, Kramer, remember me? I used to serve you coffee downtown..." Young man introduced himself, all over again. I searched my memory. Hair's darker, and he was now wearing glasses. Pisces, right, that was it. He's a Pisces. I admitted I was just looking for something to read. He recited one of my horoscopes back to me. I pointed out that it was true, and then I verified my story with an example (someone sent me fish car fresheners - for real - read Pisces). I asked what he was looking for.

"Shakespeare. The Tempest. Henry IV, part ii. Hey, who wrote Slaughterhouse Five?"

Vonnegut (Scorpio). Classic. But not really part of Brit Lit, unless, never mind.

But ask about Shakespeare? From my memory, The Tempest was written/performed, 1608-1610, probably as a "masque," and it was the author's "good-bye" piece, like Prospero breaking his staff, Shake - spear, breaking his? Source for the play was a letter/document from the colonies, about a shipwreck and the guy eventually made it to Virginia Colonies, if I recall. I might have it all wrong. But I did recommend the movie version, Propero's Books with Sir John reading the most of the text as narration. I can still hear his voice booming that introduction. Peter Greenway movie, I think.

Henry IV, part ii? Starts with Henry IV, part i, oddly enough. Introduced one of Shakespeare's greatest (I'm with Bloom on this one) characters: Falstaff. Plus the tale is all about what a good leader should be. Culminates in Henry V - the introduction to the movie is done by Derek Jacobi and has to be one of my favorite film introduction..

I quoted one of Falstaff's lines, off the top of my head. As I was thinking about it, though, I wished I'd also recommended checking out Bloom for some background for that Pisces guy's class.

I also had a mental list of authors I wanted to check, plus a book about muscle cars I'd read about, but I couldn't find the text. Nor, for that matter, did I really find what I was looking for, but I feel at home in a place with stacks and stack of books. And I did add to my reading list so I'll be mentally occupied. I meant to swing through Waterloo Records, too, but failed, as the sun was beginning to get a little low, and as soon as it sets, shorts would not be appropriate attire.

It's a really old Talking Heads song. Naive Melody. Came up on the play list I was listening to while I wandered along the streets of Austin. "Home, it's where I want to be but I might already be there..."

Rumor I heard? The video for that song was shot in Austin.

Weird search terms
Couple of items, like reefers? Chicks dig skinny pale guys?

Ghost town tattoo?

First Folio Dedication?

Cannon Fodder?

Cheapo disks 80?

xenon long cat?

Piper Sandals?

There were a couple of others, but some of them just didn't make sense like "my sister's ass" and "astrofish.net." Who'd search for that?

(vegan) Two-Meat Tuesday image

Ever notice that, in the final analysis, there are really only three kinds of people in the world? Those who can count and those who can't?

Monday was Pisces. Pisces child. Pisces waitress at the truck stop. Pisces at the airport. Pisces at the coffee shop. Everywhere.

The lovely Pisces wrote, "YOUR the BEST!" - maybe there is some love there. Pisces love, anyway.

Between two weekends with back-to-back income, I'd booked a trip to see a dentist who was in the 'hood, and the website looked good enough to secure a first time visit from me. Plus the location is within walking distance.

I was headed out the door, making good time, when I got a last-minute call from a client overseas, and I had to stop and offer advice. So I was almost late. The dentist's office is in the back of the Penfield Center, which, for those not familiar with it, can either be noted because it houses a certain media conglomerate, the local branch, or better yet, it has Ruta Maya there, a legendary coffee house. or, maybe because it's converted WWII barracks or something like that. Or, as at least one buddy will point out, "Yeah, it's that place behind the titty bar." There's always that one, isn't there?

So I know I had at least two more shots of coffee after I'd brushed my teeth, but before I got to the office. I didn't really want someone digging around in my mouth, me with coffee breath, but these things happen.

What I first noticed, the office itself is far cry from what I'm used to for a dentist office. Bright, airy, cheery, in a zen-like way, owing to running water (into an old bucket) as part of the accents. Quite calm. The Scorpio behind the counter was dressed in black, with a black ribbon around her neck, again, not very traditional, except in a Scorpio way - those damn Scorpio eyes.

I fill out the forms, and I noticed there was picture of a small dog, in a bright purple collar, on the reception window. "Uh-oh," I thought, "dog owner too proud of the puppy. Could be trouble." Then a further mental note not to dog the dog.

X-ray's, examination, instructions on how to brush, biology, microbiology, then in bounces, and I mean bounces, the dentist herself. Bubbling? Vivacious? Better yet, one word description: Gemini. Talking a mile a minute, way too much information. And the dog. Cute little dog, dentist picks the dog up, and has the dog ask why she's wearing a purple sweater. "Sagittarius?"

"It's a rescue dog, so we think, I don't know, either Libra or a Scorpio, what do you think?"

Dog hopped up on my lap, as I was stretched out on the dental chair, licked my face, then made itself at home resting on my legs - this does not happen in other parts of the world. The damn dog was as much a part of the office as the Scorpio, the Pisces, or even the boss, the Gemini.

"Oh, she likes you. You know, some people, she just doesn't get along with everyone."

Figures. And for a perfunctory examination, with the dog (Scorpio) stretched out on my shins? A sure sign that it was a happy place.

I once read a statistic that more dentists commit suicide than other medical practitioner. I don't know if it's true or not. but I seriously doubt it's any trouble at that place. The dog is a good judge of character.

I've got to rustle up some cash now, as I need a crown, and writers of my ilk? Typically, we don't carry dental insurance.

I suppose it's time to put my money where my mouth is.

A dog in the office and chattering about signs and who is what sign and what that means? All in a happy manner? Plus, the little dog in a purple sweater, stretched out on me when I was stretched out? Doesn't sound like a typical dentist office kind of visit. Offhand, though, I'd estimate the place was clean enough for surgery, and then there's that slightly off-beat, South Austin feeling.

Consider that the Penfield Center is located on Lower Congress, and consider the super trendy term that the landlords were shooting for was SoCo (South Congress), but or that dentist office? How about Lower Congress?

I live in my own world. At least it's safe here, and some people know me.

Tenure (thanks, dude)

Ten years ago horoscope archive, and five years ago horoscope archive, as well as web journal archive.

Plane notes
(Which, given the fact I was returning to Austin, over the plains of West Texas, could be plains notes.)

"Look," I suggested, "I'm the rainmaker!"

I've got a series of notes I jotted down while winging inward to Austin, that expectant rush of hitting home with a big grin on my face. As my luggage, the winter war wagon, dropped down onto the belt, and as I fetched it upright, snapping the rolling handle into place, I noticed a few drops of water on the buckles.


"We were all the rage in Paris, San Antonio to El Paso, and every honky-tonk and dance hall in between,
Hardly had to cross the state line, Texas was our big time...."
(from the Derailers)

Back-to-back with CM (Crystal Method, not Cory Morrow)

"This transmission is coming to you
You got it."
("High Roller" from CM's Vegas)

Okay, so the music was back-to-back with Marcus Aurelius, since it was either quoting a former Roman Emperor (AD 121-180), or discussing tackle options as outlined in the winter edition of a fishing magazine, I found Marcus Aurelius a more universal approach to a problem. Or solution. In fact, I'm thinking of using one of these quotes, from a different source, as part of the weekly missive - next week's audio file.

But from the Loeb Classical Library edition?

Book VIII, #15:
"Remember that, as it is monstrous to be surprised at a fig-tree bearing figs, so also is it to be surprised at the Universe bearing its own particular crop. Likewise it is monstrous for a physician or steersman to be surprised that a patient has fever or that a contrary wind has sprung up."

Just work.
Too tired. But a before shot, anyway? Robin, the palm reader - one of the few I trust - he's from Albuquerque (NM) - was "reading" me before hand. How much was in my palm, how much was intuition, and how much was familiarity? Can't say, but I figure some of it was just the usual work lament. Fortunately, he's always been a reliable source of data about books. Plus, well, he did write the book about palmistry, but I'm not sure what part of the diatribe was just that, material that bubbles up before we get busy.

He was carrying on about alternative venues, and perhaps, alternative avenues. After doing the same thing, over and over, it does make us wonder. Is there really an alternative venue that is better suited to our skills?

He usually throws in a literary reference, and it's nice when it's a something that escapes me. Or, if I recognize the source, but haven't read the novel.

The nice jewish man, a vendor, it always amazes me, he has a big line of crucifixes for sale, "You'll find, the better the reader is, the more bipolar they are."

On the way to the airport, I hope.

Movie time?
HAven't seen it yet, but it's all the buzz.

Road tripping
As an exercise on the road, a spur from a link I saw but can't find again....
In 2005, places I stayed (overnight or more):
Austin (home)
Port Aransas, TX
Corpus Christi, TX
San Antonio, TX
Dallas, TX
El Paso, TX
Midland (Odessa), TX
Rockport, TX
Las Vegas, NV
Seattle, WA

Can't say I stayed overnight in New Mexico, but I did spend a fair amount of daylight (and under moonlight) time in the southern part of the state.

Bothered me a bit as there's no overseas action the last calendar year, and other than Seattle (family) and Vegas (fun), I didn't get out of Texas. Not that it bothers me, but still. Guess I'm not making enough money.

I was listening to the road trip music, up came a sample, "I can't seem to shake this feeling, I can't seem to put it down, down, down.... I'm a hustler, on the full moon...."

(Name that track. Huh.)

Desert image:

Not reaching far enough. Or too far?

Friday the 13th
Luck is where you find, and by my watch it was Friday the 13th.

Bubba wanted to go, Grace didn't. Grace got tired of one machine, and it looked loose to me. We were just on our way out, but Bubba was lost, and I asked, "You don't mind if I play your machine?"

The attendant came by to pay the win, looked at me with my phone out, "You can't take pictures."

Friday the 13th
Off to Las Cruces for an afternoon. Getting here?

Airport notes:
"Kramer! Hey! You mind if I ask you question? I mean, I gave you a ride the airport about a year ago, and you were so right on with what you said...."

(Pisces cab driver - who knew a certain Leo, and the rest is old news.)

Got to give the the woman checking my ID at the airport due credit. She looked at the ticket, my ID, and then back at me, Oh, you've got your hair pulled back."

I'm surprised. I thought they just glanced at the stuff.

Sorting out file formats:
Got it worked out, I hope. Different video format for the file; therefore, faster loading.

File under: coffee?
Why coffee is so important to some of us.

Now we can hear?

I suppose I should suggest that treatment before the weekly audio cast, (free), or for the paid subscription version.


Odds and ends, in no order
Just a weird Wednesday collection of rambles. Plus, a new cause du jour:

Writing about writing is a dangerous process. Plus there's the idea that writing about writing is tantamount to mental masturbation. And the fear that it will chase the Muse away.astrofish I write horoscopes. Fell into the job, and then got paid for it. Then there's the whole roller-coaster of history. It wasn't until I was working on a concept, teasing an idea, writing, erasing, writing, toying, then ripping it all apart and starting over, that I realized what a limited medium this can be. Words. That's all. No pictures. No sound. Just words. Plus, the self-imposed constraints look like they're running around 200 words per sign, usually as little more, sometimes a little less, and the scopes fall out in a single block, in another manner of speaking, 12 signs, 200 words. Plus introduction, date and links? Very occasionally, I'll break the 3K mark for a weekly column, mood, moon and other factors weigh in, but that's all a self-imposed limit of some kind. Not like it's a target, just round numbers I'm working with.

That means, in a single year, I'm turning out a whole book-length manuscript.

The other evening, I had a brilliant concept for a weekly theme, only when I sat down to implement the brilliant idea, what I ran into was the constraints of the medium. What the form lends itself to, and what it doesn't lend itself to. Another great idea. Poof. Gone.

But it was a good concept.

Top ten list:<
Oh but this is from a favorite, and hopefully will inspire another
list. Except I've been blogging regularly since 1998, and the archives prove that.

Marketing point:astrofish I'd like to think that astrofish.net is produced in a safe environment, using only green electrons, wherein a few atoms get stripped of their shells, but not real harm is done. Likewise, I'd like to advertise that it's a "sweat-shop" free environment, but the cat won't agree. I can verify that it's 100% local owned and operated, and no child-labor laws were broken. At least one person of adult-age (me) has worked long hours, but as one of my sig lines says, "A lot of work goes into making this look effortless."

Oh, this is
most exciting news. Then again, I'm easily amused some days.


Hardware lust:
Yes, I like the new machines, and yes, I'd like one, but no, I can't justify it this week. Best of all, though, is the new name. No, not MacBook Pro, or whatever, but ICBM. Intel Chip Based Mac. So I want a portable ICBM.

High points:
Sometimes I lose track of why I do what I do, and why enjoy it so much. When I was finishing Highway 61 Resurfaced, there was a scene, towards the end of the book, see, there's a lawyer in the trunk of the car, and this guy is arranging for a, and never mind, it was funny. To me, anyway, I laughed hard enough to disturb the cat asleep on my stomach, and I had to put the book down for a minute.

The next morning, I got the exact same visceral reaction from something I was writing, for a near future horoscope, and then I realized, after I enjoyed a belly laugh, that -one- no one would get it, -two- the people who did get it would only smirk, and -three- it doesn't matter. I amused myself.

On any Tuesday
image The north wind came howling down over the Texas prairies Monday night, beating against the door. I switched from shorts to long, flannel pajamas, to accommodate the temperature. Late in the evening, the cat and I played the door game, a familiar exercise to anyone who lives with a cat, scratch at the door to be let out, hold the door open against the brisk breeze, and the cat freezes in a position, half in, half out. She turns to me and meows, wondering why I turned up the AC outside. "Don't look at me," I said to the cat, "I don't control the weather." I got one of those looks, like I'm crazy, and I should, at the very least, do something about the weather for her benefit. Fix it, I'm sure she's thinking, as she glowered at me.

Movie time:
On Any Sunday Produced, directed and written by Bruce Brown, c. 1971

"Only another professional racer like Mert can appreciate the work involved. He spends over a thousands hours a year, working on his motorcycle.

"Mert is totally dedicated to his profession. He doesn't have time for any outside interests.

"There's a lot more to racing than just holding the throttle wide open."

There's a lot more to writing horoscopes than just putting one word in front of the other.


Spurious linkage:
The Black Table is shuttering.

Stupid quiz time:
(At least they got the numerology right, FWIW.)

Your Life Path Number is 7

Your purpose in life is to find truth and meaning

You are very spiritual, and you are interested in the mysteries of life.

You are quite analytical and a great thinker. You have many theories and insights.

A life of solitude is perfect for you. You need time to think and do things your way.

In love, you are quite charming. You attract many with your confidence and wit.

While you enjoy being alone, sometimes you take it to an extreme.

You can become too isolated, shutting out loved ones and friends.

Express yourself a little bit more, and you'll be surprised where it takes you!

Proof that monk-like existence is a good thing.

This entry is certified 100% clean of any posting about the new announcement by Apple and the new laptops, iMacs, operating software, or the way Steve Jobs played the crowd as if were a fine, delicate instrument, and how the rumor sites were better than the rumors. And no lust for new hardware. Or software.

Two (tofu) Tuesday
image I've been a just a little preoccupied, and I didn't realize that I was making a historic journey to El Paso. See, El Paso is home to UTEP (yew-TEP), or, to some, the University of Texas El Paso. The previous name? Texas Western? Think about it... it's the subject of the Friday release of Glory Road, which, if one hasn't been subjected to the media onslaught, one must be living under rock. Which I wish I was. I had, at one time, inside information about the film, at least, the portion of the film that was shot in El Paso, where the story takes place. Therefore, I have a lot of hope that the film will be well-received. Then again, I'm unsure that I want my private paradise location discovered.

Oh, to be sure, El Paso, Texas is no paradise to some. Abandoned by Texas, not cool enough to be New Mexico, and merely an illegal stepchild to Ciudad Juarez, El Paso is town with a long history of military presence.

No kidding. First called "El Paseo del Notre," and established as a vital link on the overland route to Sante Fe, I think. White Sands (missiles) Roswell (rockets), and El Paso's Ft. Bliss (land - sand). The guy Ft. Bliss is named for? Never served there, if my memory is correct. It's weird place, but I like it.

This is a short trip for me, long enough to see clients and the Leo group. Other than that? Not much on the horizon.

But with that movie opening, I probably picked a bad time to head out there.

Coffee notes via MSN's Slate:
Long explanation about the code and pricing.

Net news?
It's a piece about legislation that's passed, and I'm not sure I understand the wording of the law.

Customer Service Survey:
Last time I did a "customer service survey," the results were largely weighted towards my own, personal tastes. I got a piece in the regular mail from my "rail service provider" because I am a frequent flyer - can I use such a term for a train? I was on board a train, commuting back from San Antonio one morning, and there was an hour delay while a freight hauler did something with the rail lines. I didn't bother with the news. I thought about hopping off the train, but I settled in with a book and an iPod instead. my long years of travel experience indicate that there will always be delays - be prepared.

Filling out the survey made me realize how out-of-touch I am with what the paying public wants. Longer video? Shorter video? More talk? More music? More what? Less what?

Pirates vs Ninjas! Aargh.

On Any Sunday
On Any Sunday, the first movie, was about motorcycle racing, back when the line between product, entertainment, amateur and professional was not well-defined.

Likewise, I have a problem drawing the line between fun, promotions, entertainment and business. As near as I can tell, I'm in the business of entertainment.

On just about any Sunday, though, for my foreseeable future? I'll be working.


High holy days
Well, to some anyway.

"The psychic said 'something will happen' in 7 to 10 days."

Wow. Profound.

(Lord have mercy on me, I work around these people.)


"The time being impatient hasn't made it go any faster."

Cool places
Cool Places: (Did I mention that Venus Retrograde can have an adverse effect on one's musical tastes?)

The musical lick was a throw-away lyric from an era gone and perhaps, best forgotten, not that I can remember much of it, anyway. But cool places in Austin? I'll be at work, Saturday and Sunday.


Unverified rumors:
Xmas, for mac-geeks, doesn't happen at Xmas time, it coincides with Macworld, in January. I'm not enough of a geek to make the pilgrimage, but I do enjoy the content. Plus, the rumors can be pretty exciting, if occasionally far-fetched.

How it's done:
A quick video explaining how it's all put together, except, not here. Here? It's just a cat and me. I live like a monk.

Unrelated licks:
"This is Radio Clash." (link)

Yea, verrily.

Counting ponytails
One of the aspects I think I like about an insular world wherein my boundaries are largely dictated by pedestrian ways is that I get to watch people. A professor once gave that as an assignment, and I've been practicing ever since. But much to my dismay, there's a limit since I'm pretty much shy of venturing too far from home.

There's downtown, and its associated neighborhoods, but other than a couple of restaurants and bars, plus my favorite coffee stops, there's not a lot. Usually, or so it seems during winter daytime hours, to be limited to "suits." Usually.

As I was coming out the post office, I made a belated and lame effort to hold the door open for a busy-looking business woman. Just being polite. As I lingered, a typically casually dressed guy goes by. His hair was pulled back and he was sporting a ponytail. Another guy, obviously older, perhaps a little better attired, but not by much, slides in and nods a "thanks," to me. So at that little intersection of pedestrian traffic, front door of the downtown post office, there were three of us with ponytails, all passing through the same portal.

And here I thought I was out of step with the rest of the world. But Austin's a place where, I guess, a rebel 60's ponytail isn't so out of place. As I wandered the sidewalks toward the trail homewards, I wondered about the number of guys with ponytails and if it was really that unusual.

Stepping across the street, I noticed a wild mane of gray hair streaming behind a familiar face, as he went accelerating across two lanes of traffic to make the light, top down on his car. He usually wears a ponytail, too. Might be single again, too, hence no ponytail.

Now, the question is, consider the hair, the age of the males, and is this normal? Or is this purely a localized phenomena? An event that, stylistically, would only happen here? Or if any of the other guys with ponytails get asked if they are guitar players. Maybe they are.

Inbound e-mail:
On Jan 5, 2006, at 9:22 AM, ya'll wrote:
>in the weekly vid (which i thought was great)
>you mentioned something
>that was "not a good idea at this time"
>sounded like 'geil' but that's a brand of memory.  what was that word?

Guile. Deceit. Deception. Underhanded, devious (sometimes Scorpio) things.

Musical note for the answer, too?

"You know where you are? You're in the jungle baby."


It's a venerable burger joint. I was, at one point, tempted to swipe the name, Thursday - Saturday Special as title for some project, but I lost interest. Plus there's a Capricorn with a similar title, on a volume of work.

However, late in the afternoon, for just a moment, unconnected from the rest of the world, sunning my legs, while I was slowly munching on a cheeseburger, I had to wonder if it was paradise.

odd bits
Just some unrelated material.
reading material:
I'm currently reading Bill Fitzhugh's Highway 61 Resurfaced, and while I thoroughly enjoy the experience, because his books are starting to have a soundtrack, I'm wondering, if this is a fiscally prudent idea. Apple iTunes' credit, and song references, late in the night? Not that it matters, but for someone who lives in CA, he sure has a way with the true south. And music. Radioactivity is the precursor, well-worth the effort.

Bill Fitzhugh's Radioactivity & High 61 Resurfaced.

Both books are highly recommended.

How sad is our current media and quality of life when reliving the best commercials is the point? (I got there from an obvious Apple link, but I like the herding cats best.)


Like a ghost town
Musical interlude, Ghost Town by The Specials. Scratch that. It's a party-party weekend, and Wednesday is the new Friday. Yeah, like the local slogan goes, "Come early, stay late, be loud."

I'm always interested in the tiny interstices, the crevices that are missed by many, sometimes the small cracks that appear on the veneer of life's surface. Wednesday afternoon, I was working on a theme, an idea, a bit about neighborhoods in Austin, but I got lost, had to meet a client, have some Tex-Mex, and then coffee, and next up, my little Pisces friend calls me with an invitation for a quick dash to the mall. During the big game. Which was part of the original musical reference of "like a ghost town," because that's what it was like. In one store, the manager was watching the big-screen TV. Just about everyone in the mall was wearing an orange T-shirt. But it was all oddly deserted.

I stopped in the Apple store to pick up a cable and query the staff. Not much help. Wandered on over to Victoria's Secret to find my Pisces, and we meandered through the empty mall for a few moments.

The cavernous space was certainly discomfiting, devoid of people. More so, I was bothered by the vast amount of real estate used to "brand" products, stores, and promise that I could be trendy. I'm not. I wasn't actively watching the game. At the half, Texas was up. All that mattered to me.

At the exit, as much as I hate unpaid product placement, there was a curious sign.



We stopped at a locally owned restaurant, and the waiter was a Scorpio. On his arm, there was a strange bit of script, a tattoo: dum spiro spero (while I breath, I hope).

I queried him about it, not that it's an odd combination, but it sort of is, ink and latin.

"I'm, not like, all that into football," he said, "but if they win, this place will be packed, and if they lose, it'll be a ghost town."

I was watching the sports ticker while I was typing this, and it looks like it was a bit of a cliff-hanger of game. Which is why I started with the ghost town theme. But after 11 local time, I noticed a change in the score, the pendulum swung again, then there was a sirens, honking, and what sounded like small arms fire. Probably just fireworks.


That Scorpio waiter served me something I hadn't seen before, from Kerby Lane, a hamburger made from "Bandera Grassland fed cattle," I'm sure, just a nod towards local business. There was something about that latin quote, though, I found that to be uniquely, I couldn't really say, not weird, but different. Oh yes, it's part of the local flavor.

new year, new plan
Limited offer, trying to drive up the membership....

Access to all the up-to-date horoscopes for the entire 2006, all 12 months - all 12 signs, on time, for only $52.95.  

The xmas elves have been busy. There are a limited number of custom t-shirts available.

The first five new subscribers who sign up and pay for a whole year in advance get a t-shirt (US only, some restrictions may apply).

And for the lucky recipients of that first round of T-Shirts? I want a digital image of someone wearing the shirt.

Perspicacious observers will note that the yearly subscription costs substantially more than the monthly fee administered via the PayPal gateway. Service is the same, though, it's just how the economics of banking and bookkeeping work.

Access includes weekly audio-video "podcast," or live video feed, the current scopes, faster e-mail answers, and best of all, peace of mind, knowing that sometimes irritating horoscopes will continue to be available for the coming year.


Quick Trio:

(subtitled: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)


The gene identified? Maybe so.

File under....

This must be a joke, right? Hunting deer with a cannon?


West Texas, that poor soul, suffering under the devastation.


Trends and lists

Two lists caught my attention, one about ten trends we hope will go away, here. And another, more encompassing list, the best gadgets of the last decades, here.

Of the ten trends, I'm glad to point out that I have personally been on a single-handed crusade to fight to "horoscope-bloat," and the entire weekly column has been displayed as a single entity for several years now. No clicking through page after page, just to find that one scope. Or having to look someplace else, get subjected to more advertising, closing pop-ups, just to get to the other one you wanted to read. Maybe I'm ahead of the trend.

On the list of top technology toys, I think I counted four or five items that I owned. not very cutting edge of me, I'll say that.

What interested me, though, was that the list, broken down into ten items per page, over five pages? I was counting, it was a like one item per page. and clicking on multiple pages was annoying.

Which is back to that first article.


The business of predictions (in Austin)
I kept meaning to roll this into the audio forecast for the week, but never made it. It's about football, not exactly one of my strong points. Burnt Orange football. Come early. Stay late. Be loud.

There's more than a decade's worth of archives, showing pretty clearly I've been at this kind of business of predictions for a while. Sometimes, the less said, the better.

But with a disquiet and hush upon the land, and some rather delightful spring-like weather in Austin, I've found my attention drawn back to a certain point, yet again.

"Who will win the Rose Bowl?"

I'm guessing, that the correct way to say that would be, "What team will win the Rose Bowl?" but I'm not a grammar cop, and I would be sorely tested to play one on TV.

I studied the charts for a moment or two. Moon will be in Pisces, the sign of the fish. Sun will be in Capricorn, first quarter moon, and this means?

I live in Austin. While I'm not a graduate of UT, I've enjoyed the multiple benefits that come from living close to a large university. The UT Library is the (current) benefactor in my will.

Burnt Orange is everywhere. Not here, but all over town. Almost as prevalent as the Lone Star. So, in the business of predictions, like I am, I have to make a call. Heads or tails? Winners and losers...

The 80-year old aunt, xmas eve? Horns fan. At church, leaning on a cane, "Hook 'em Horns!"

The Horns. Got to call it that way. Really, as if there was any other option.

Musical interlude

Not sure how this plays out, two parts, one, the song in my head. Two, the music playing. Not even remotely related. Except, of course, by me.

Music playing in my head? One song, one short lyrical refrain, "But they're not going to catch me, no, not going to catch...."

One of the Allman Brothers.

But up on the trailer (house) stereo (iPod-powered) system?

Beethoven's complete set of symphonies. Number 1 to 9. Cranked up #5, "allegro con brio." Or, better yet? You'd recognize this one: Symphony #9 in D minor Op.125 "Choral" 2 Molto vivace.



new start - new year

In American pronunciation, I'd like to think I'm a charming guy, or, in the local vernacular, a "charmin' feller," such as it is. I was tending to some business, and I noticed the brand name of the paper, "CHARMIN" - with its different pronunciation. But spelled the same way. NYE delayed? It's that whole "leap second" item that's got me confused.

Copyright 2006 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.