Friday, January 30, 2015

Horoscopes: It's the Law!

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):  I read about Benford's Law in my Grapes of Math book, which says that the leading digit in a number is most likely to be one.  At first I thought duh, you have to get through the ones to get to anything else -- you can't have two of something before you have the one of that thing.  But that's just me, not understanding Benford.  Here's what it says:  in any set of numbers, say, the population of all US cities - about 30 percent will have one as the leading digit, half as many begin with two, and so on, so that nine is the least common first digit.  Crazy!  Why do we care about this, Pisces?  I'm not sure I can put it into words, but we do!  I mean, there are applications -- detecting fraud, for example.  But what makes me so happy is that there's this invisible force that directs how numbers act.  Right?  Do all the US cities have to get organized to make sure their population fits in?  NO!  It just works out that way.  I guess I love the invisible things that we don't even know about, and they march on, being an organizing force.  I know you'll agree, Pisces, that there's something good in that.  Doesn't it make you wonder about all the other things we don't know about?  Oh Pisces, the magic of it all.  

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):   Speaking of forces governing the world, one thing that makes me irritable, and I've probably ranted about it in the past, is when people try to organize a potluck.  If I were a real researcher, I would have discovered something called Odinger's Universal Law of Potlucks that would prove that this behavior is unnecessary.  And annoying.  People will bring what speaks to them, and there will always be enough.  There will be one or two people who create exquisite offerings out of things they've grown or raised lovingly and then slaughtered, there will be a few people who grab a bag of chips on the way to the event, and there will be a bunch somewhere in the middle - recipe followers, who have some or all of the relevant ingredients.  It's a law.  You can tell all the people who's names start with A-L to bring a main dish, just like you can tell water to run uphill, but it just creates bad juju, like damming a river.  The river will find its own way, and you can pretend you have control but we know better.  Give a potluck a thousand years, and the potluck equivalent of a new canyon will be forged.  Freedom from tyrannical potluck organizers!  Let the people choose!  (I think that was in the original Federalist papers, before the aliens came down and altered them. Oh wow, I've really strayed off into the weeds here.  Sorry, Aries.) 

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):   Speaking of laws, Zipf's law, I learned from Dr. Language, is a baseline for everything the linguists do. The law says that in any given text, the most frequent word occurs twice as often as the next most frequent word, and three times as often as the third most frequent, and so on, so that a graph looks like this. Ok, it's slightly more complicated because there's a constant involved, but I don't want you to leave me just yet, Taurus.  Don't go! Again, you're wondering why you should care about Zipf and his law. (Whatever it is, isn't it legal in WA anyway?)  You should care, Taurus, because it's a mystery!  Why does it do that?  How is it that someone can take The Dubliners, cut it up and sort the words, and it follows this rule?  Doesn't that intrigue you?  I spent about, oh, way too long (which equals 4 hours) taking various blog posts and other writings and graphing them, and yup, it's the law.  I'm awestruck.  Go for awestruck when you can this week, Taurus.

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21):  The seahawks.  Sheesh, there's a lot of hoopla about that.  It feels  like religion or patriotism, where it's best not to admit out loud that you don't believe in god, or you think the war is a bad idea.  I hear so much, 

 "No, even you would have loved the last game!  Really! It was amazing!"  

Um, no, I wouldn't have.  I agree with Ty Burr, who said that he prefers his popular culture served up with a tincture of irony, and American football exists to stomp out irony wherever it lifts its effete little head."  I'm happy that all the humans are so excited about something, but really, I'm just not interested in watching a bunch of overpaid guys, immersed in a culture of misogyny, run around after a stupid ball.  And the whole twelve business confounds me.  Maybe because the twelves are proud of decibel level, and I'm spending my life on a mission to promote the inside voice.  Sorry, all my lovely friends who are fans.  I'm glad your team is doing so well, and I'm happy for all the rallying and revelry, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it creeps me out.  The cheerleaders don't even make minimum wage?  Seriously?

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  Ok, and another thing?  I'm not so interested in what Marshawn Lynch has to say.  Seriously.  If we're in the biz, as a culture, of fining people for not talking, um, there are so many others I'd be interested in hearing from, like,oh, how about Emily Bazelon?  But as a general guide, shouldn't we take someone at their word when they say they have nothing interesting to say?  It pretty much blows me away, that we fine people, actually charge them money, for not talking when they don't have anything to say.  This, my dear Leo, is how boring-ness is perpetuated.  

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  This kind of freaked me out.  Soon we'll be housing lactating women in over-crowded feedlots and selling their milk to bodybuilders.  No, that will never happen.  Nothing bad ever happens when women of childbearing age have something testosterone driven men want, right?  Oh Leo, sorry if I sound a little out of sorts.  Keep on bodybuilding without the supplements.    

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  Bergmanns Rule says that, in general, larger creatures are found in cooler environments.  Kind of a duh, and not exactly a law.  When it's cold, it's good to have a large mass compared to your area of skin, so heat doesn't leave as easily.  It's starting to make me believe that temperature is the most influential ingredient in the world.  But here's something that the bees do:  they keep their thorax warm by beating their wings.  They let the abdomen stay cool, so as not to waste calories on heating it, much like I do with my house.  (If my house were a bee, we'd call the upstairs the abdomen.)  But if they want to cool down, say, because they're fuzzy little people flying around in the hot sun?  Capitalize on that cool abdomen.  Such a slick design, Cancer.  

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  I had the privilege of giving a little talk about blogging the other day to some college students, and someone asked why I only update my blog about once a week.  I had to explain, um, well, it's not really a plan, it's just that I don't get out much, and it takes me a while to gather material, even the tiniest little bits of material. Even pocket lint, Libra, takes a while to accumulate.  If I were to ride the bus more, or just tangle with the humans, I'd update more.  So there you have it, Libra.  The truth.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  I'm reading the most fascinating book about bumblebees now, and one thing I've learned is that a full-bellied bumblebee will die of starvation in 40 minutes.  Which is not unlike the paycheck-to-paycheck life that many of us lead, me especially (without the paycheck part).  But picture it:  you're flying around, gathering nectar, moving your little wings fast enough to keep your body warm, your belly is full, but in less than one hour you're dead if you don't keep going, endlessly seeking flowers, more flowers.  Scorpio?  What do we make of all this?  

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  Speaking of invisible laws, I've been trying to understand gravity for a while.  I made this a while ago and haven't really figured out much since then.  

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):  Speaking of hidden forces -- it's the stuff that happens whether we understand it, whether we acknowledge it, whether we believe in it, that what makes the world worth it.  Love, for example.  There is love that's so pure that it needs nothing, no evidence, no action.  Like the ocean, expansive and complete, even if you never visit, you haven't seen a starfish in years or gotten your pants accidentally soaked up to the knee with brine.  The ocean doesn't change for you, it just is.  Hold onto that, Cap.

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  Ok, I have this neighbor who leaves for work super early, like I think it's 5:30, and before that he/she cooks bacon.  I know this because I sleep with all my windows wide open, and the aroma wafts in at 4:30.  Bacon is not just a normal smell; it has super powers.  It feels like a message travelling from the deceased pig directly to your nose with the command, "COME FIND ME."  An olfactory seance.  None of the other smells do that.  You smell lavender, or woodsmoke, and think, oh, pleasant.  You don't think, I MUST GET OUT OF BED RIGHT NOW AND GO TO WHERE YOU ARE.  Do you think there's a secret message to be decoded, maybe some way to save the planet?  See what you can learn, Aquarius.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

To Nap or Not to Nap....

Dear Advice Columnist,

I have a friend who was wondering -- if it's late afternoon, and I feel (I mean, she feels - this is for a friend) tired and kind of unproductive -- is it better to take a nap or just power through til bedtime?  She goes to bed really early, so it's not really very long of a time.  I'm sure I don't have to elaborate the pros and cons.

Thanks for your help.  I almost wrote "yelp".  I don't know why.

Helpful Friend

Dear Helpful Friend,

I do indeed know the pros and cons.  There is nothing worse than slogging through the last several hours of the day without the proper amount of joy.  No gasps of delight, no interesting thoughts, just the blah blah blah, plodding, one sluggish foot in front of the other like those people chained together marching up to Camp Muir, eyes looking at their boots, even though they're on one of the most beautiful spaces on the planet, with the absolutely bluest sky and invigorating lack of oxygen in the air and even a marmot chittering in the distance.

And then again, I also know what it's like to go to sleep when it's daylight and wake up some time later in the dark, confused and hungry, not sure what day, or worse yet, what season it is.  And knowing that if I get up I'll probably just eat crackers and maybe a pickle.  Or I'll do that thing where I keep looking in the refrigerator, hoping something good and already prepared is in there, but there's nothing, and I keep checking anyway.  And then I finally just eat the crackers and go back to bed and think sheesh, what was this day for?  Did I arrive on this planet just so that I could sleep through it all?  Or, is this really just the alternate universe, and this day is only one of many that I'm concurrently living, which explains the fatigue, and also allows for the possibility that in some other universe, I'm totally on it, carpe-ing the diem?

What was your question again?  Oh, right.  Choose nap.  Every single time.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Horoscopes from Vacation!

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20)
:  I'm on vacation, which involves packing a tiny overnight bag each evening, and walking across the hall into one of the vacant bedrooms where I sleep without a care in the world.  Because that's how it is on vacation, people.  It's really fun because it's like travelling to a far away land without all the hassle of sunburns, language barriers and air travel.  I do have to go home to use the bathroom, as someone pointed out, but it doesn't seem like home because the route is different.  I may even leave a chocolate on my pillow tonight, who knows!  Anyway, the thing that makes it especially fun is packing the little overnight bag, planning what I need, and putting it ever so tenderly into my tiny tiny overnight bag.  (Turns out all I ever need is a book.)  I'd recommend this, Pisces.  Take the Staycation concept to new lows.

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):   Does the word, "repurposed" sound pretentious?  I know, Aries, but we must accept and forgive, even when people say utilize.  (Although I will confess that I like how "curate" is being overused.)  Anyway, Aries, here's the deal:  I listened to the most recent magnificent episode of KCRW's Unfictional podcast, in which a guy has been haunted by the ghost of Montgomery Clift for his whole life.  I can think of worse problems, personally, but still, it would be a little weird to have a dead 50's hearthrob lurking all the time.  This week, Aries, see who you're haunted by and welcome them directly into your life.  Say something like, "You, out from the shadows!"  Let me know how it goes.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):   I know someone who has seven Facebook friends, a number that she feels comfortable with.  If she adds anyone else, she'll have to drop someone, because she imagines FB as a rowboat in which there just isn't enough room for everyone.  I know of someone else who will only travel in a three mile radius from her home.  Taurus, aim for spaciousness this year.  We're not in a lifeboat!  We're on a beautiful habitable (for now) planet, being orbited by the coolest moon in the solar system.  (Not to stray from the point, but out of all the planets, that moon chose us!  How lucky we are!) 

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21): The thing about magic is the magicians usually know how it's done, so it's not magic, it's trickery.  But here's some real magic, in the video below.  I know what you're thinking -- that's not magic, that's called a faulty connection!  But it is magic to me; try not to judge. I choose to believe that the little light just needs some special transformative attention from me each morning.   It's almost like having a beloved roommate!  Or a dog, without the hassle.  Gemini, offer your magical attention to those around you this week.  It's what the planet needs right now.

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  I was working for The Man the other day, doing my booty call job, which can be most unpleasant, but I try not to let it be.  Anyway, it involves driving around in a County vehicle, being vulnerable to all the government hate out there -- I might as well wear a giant bullseye and a flashing sign that says, "I REPRESENT OVER-REGULATION AND GOVERNMENT WASTE!"  Anyway, I mostly visit people's property and tell them they can't do what they want, and this usually after they've paid a lot of money and waited a long time.  At any rate, I visited someone the other day and he was all, "Come back any time!  Seriously, I've planted 1,000 bulbs, come visit in the spring!  Or come see my project when it's done.  I'll probably have a house warming party, can I invite you?"  Which was so unexpected that I teared up just a tiny bit.  And it was also pretty weird to imagine coming back in six months, "Hey - remember me?  I just came by to hang out, and maybe see the garage you built!"  But sweet, nevertheless. (I love that word, "nevertheless".  Is it even a word?)  Enjoy the moments this week, Cancer.

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  Did you hear that thing about how they're recommended that children bring canned goods to school in order to ward off gunmen?  I'm not able to judge the merits of the strategy, but I will note that it's heartbreaking to consider a scenario in which the threat of being shot in school is real enough that we need a plan, and it involves 10 year-olds hurling canned goods at an armed whack-job.  Lordy.  

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  When I first started doing yoga, I spent a lot of time trying to get into a specific pose, agonizing that I couldn't, yadda yadda yadda.  But now I just think about breathing, mostly, and my feet, a little bit.  Are my feet really on the ground?  Wasn't that a sweet breath!  How long will I get to live on this planet, doing this, feet on the ground, going on a vacation every night, doing yoga every day?  Oh man, I hope they don't make me move to outer space!  Yikes, don't make me move to Saturn!  I DON"T WANT TO GO!  My breath is getting squishy.  Oh wait, probably no one is going to make me move to another planet.  Let that thought float on by.  Where are my feet?  How much gravity is on Saturn, again?  Why isn't it habitable?  This amount of gravity is pretty good.   Exhale.  What if I live alone all my life and end up owning a hundred cats, hoarding, with a lightbulb as my closest companion?  Oh wait!  That's happening now and it's really not so bad!  Anyway, it's not about the poses.  Thank you, Virgo, for teaching me that, and for all your generosity and joy.

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  We have our own little microbiome inside our bodies -- all our little bacteria that make a village inside our, well, inside our insides, I guess you'd say.  I read something (or did I dream it?) about how our whole house has that same little microbiome.  And you only have to be at a hotel for 3 days for the hotel to have grown the exact microbiome as your house.  I don't know what that means about having a house guest.  Right?  Hey, people, don't leave your microbiome lying around!  But the point, Libra, is this.  I'm speechless, but, I'll confess, curious.  Order!  Let me know how it goes.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  I'm reading a great book right now called The Grapes of Math, which attempts to answer that age old question:  does math imitate life, or does life imitate math?  And it addresses things like why is seven so popular, what's important about Euler's number, and so on.  I can't recommend it highly enough.  Let it be a dance you do, Scorpio.

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  There's a FB page for our little town, which sounds sweet at first, but it turns out that there's rage lurking right below the surface in so many citizens.  What's up with that?  I'm especially irritated by the people who claim status because they've lived here longer.  There's a lot of, "You must be new."  Which apparently is code for, "You're an idiot."  Having the same address for a long time isn't anything to boast about, Sag.  I look to a day when people will not be judged by the longevity of their address, but by the content of their character, as MLK said.  ish.  

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):  I recently read this, by one of the famous unitarians, Ralph Waldo E.: 
“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but the solidest thing we know.”  
I'm working on that, Cap.  Treating you with the roughest courage, because it matters. The roughest courage is where caring lives.  It lives in being present and truthful and above all, kind, because even when the truth is painful, it's the most respectful and generous thing we have to offer one another.  May you display rough courage this week.

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  Do you share my adoration for Ruth Bader Ginsberg?  Of course you do, Aquarius.  Read a little about her, and then claim your inner badass.  Bend the arc of history towards justice this week.  You can do it! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

A problem involving the felines

Dear "khortnee",

I have a problem. I actually have four problems. Well, to be honest, I have a lot more than that, but for purposes of this letter I will confine myself to four. The four problems are my four cats.

Now, I realize that since you are the alter ego of Betsy, who "gotnocats", you might also "gotnocats", and cats may be the last thing you wish to think about.  However, I am desperate. My cats are ruining my life. We started out with two cats, brothers raised from kittenhood. One got sick and died. The other was lonely. So we got another cat to keep him company. All was well. Shoulda stopped there.

But then we took in our daughter's cat because, well, it's a long story, but that's what you do, isn't it, when your offspring love their cat but can't keep it? And this cat cannot be trusted with the other cats because he is huge and powerful while they are (1) a scaredy cat (talk about stereotypes!) and (2) a lame and overweight dowager, and both would come out the worse for wear, or possibly dead, in prolonged contact with daughter's cat.

Enter the fourth cat. She is a stray with a big, bad attitude. She can't be trusted with the other cats either because she is very territorial and will fight to maim or kill. On her own she is okay, and at the time we took her in, the SPCA was full and we also didn't know we'd be keeping daughter's cat forever.

So we've been keeping the aggressive cats separate from the original two and from each other, which is a real pain in the heinie. Is that how you spell "rear end"? I should look that up. Do you do two questions in one letter? If so, can you tell me if that's spelled right? Thanks!

Back to the original question: What would you, as a non-cat-owner, do about this situation IF you were a cat owner and gave a cr ... fig?

P. S. I sincerely apologize for the length of this letter. I felt the gory details were absolutely necessary for a proper understanding of this complex issue! Of earth-shattering importance to the world! Or maybe just to me. Almost the same thing, right?

Dear "Jennio",

Oh, the cats.  They take up so much space on the Internet and in our homes and thoughts too.  Well, not mine, but I've heard of cats before, although I find them so very confusing.  Not to stray from your problems, but I saw something on Craigslist yesterday about free cat food -- a huge costly bag, being given away, because the cat doesn't like that kind anymore.  Huh?  Do the freeloading animals get to be so picky?  (Do I sound like that irritable grandparent, "In MY day, the kids ate what was on the table or we mailed it directly to the starving children in India...")  But seriously, which is the pet and which is the owner in that scenario?

The other thing that creeps me out about cats, as I've noted, is that they seem like they have locked in syndrome, where they're totally aware but can't communicate verbally, and they stare at you when you talk as if you're saying something dumb.  Gives me the willies.

I have no idea what to suggest to a kind person like yourself who's willing to take in angry, aggressive, orphaned cats that bully the family cats.  No idea at all.  Your problem seems so complicated, like that brain-teaser with the fox, the chickens, the farmer, the feed, and the rowboat.  But, as I'm just getting this whole advice biz off the ground and I want to look like I know what I'm doing, I'll fake an answer.

Fill the five quart container, and pour it into the three quart container.  This will leave two cups.  Voila!  Oh, wait, I think that's the answer to a different problem.  Lemme try again.

I suggest that you move.  You and your husband can find a sweet little house for just the two of you, and let the cats work it out amongst themselves.  You'll be like children who grow up and move away and can't keep cats anymore.  The felines can live in the big house and pay the damn mortgage and deal with all the hassles of home ownership like trying to get someone to put gutters on the house, GRR, for like, 20 years while the house rots, and they can figure out how to change the light bulbs and drag the garbage can all the way down to the road and greet the Jehovah's Witnesses when they come to proselytize and clean the shower every so often.  See if they have the guts to be so angry when they're actually in charge.  Kind of like the republicans.  Meanwhile, you and your husband will be blissfully enjoying an uncluttered tiny little home overlooking the water with just the perfect amount of things, nothing extra, and you'll love your home so much that you'll give it an ironic name like, oh, I don't know what, you'll think of something because you'll have a bunch more brain space available without this cat war.  And you'll spend your days sitting on the porch sipping beverage of choice, watching the sun go down and the moon come up and waiting for the cats to grow thumbs.  And guess what?  It will be too small to host thanksgiving.  Oh well.  AND, with all the time that the cats have freed up, you and your person can play this game.  

PS.  Your letter was just the right length.

PPS.  I didn't automatically put you in the Witness Protection Program, but I did put your name in quotes.  Does that help?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Problem #1: The hero's journey

Well, it doesn't seem right to wait all the way until Tuesday when people have actual real problems.  So, here goes.

Dear Fake Astrologer,

I'm trying to make plane reservations for next summer for my daughters and myself and the SITE WON'T LET ME. I'm talking about significant money here. We're going to the UK. The site just says nuh-uh, try later or try a different type of skill, like juggling. I don't like juggling or hacky-sack either, even though I went to Evergreen-go goeducks!

Or call the 800 number and you know how that is. About 30 minutes of horrible crackling 'music' until you hit the 'end' button. Then you look for travel agents who can help you but it's after 5PM!!! And anyway, who uses travel agents? Old people? People who want to go on a cruise?

So Honorable Seer of Fortunes-what gives?? Is it a message that I should forget it and visit Whidbey island instead? Or I need to do some sort of penance before the spirits will permit me to spend a small fortune on plane tickets?

On another note, I might be going on sort-of a date this Saturday with someone I know sort-of. I will be needing to consult with you about the er, issues with this person. People can change, right?

Now you're curious, huh?


NOT A HACKYSACKER, but still, a Geoduck.

Dear Not a Hacky-Sacker,

This is such a ubiquitous problem, my friend.  If Joseph Campbell were alive today he'd be writing a book called, "The Hassle with a Thousand Faces."  I mention Joseph because you're a Greener, and I don't think anyone has gotten out of there without a minor in Joseph Campbell.  For those readers who went to real colleges with grades and stuff, and maybe didn't get the full exposure to Joseph that some of us enjoyed, here's the basic deal, the one plot line that we all live, over and over, from Wikipedia:
hero [You] ventures forth from the world of common day [your regular life] into a region of supernatural wonder [phone hell]: fabulous forces [crackly music] are there encountered and a decisive victory is won [!!Yay!!]: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man [and woman!].
I think what this means is that although the world is full of miniature and grandiose hassles, you'll return from your mysterious journey, that of being placed on hold with horrible crackly music, with gifts!  To bestow!  To make the world a better place!  I, for one, can hardly wait.  I think you're in the valley of the ashes now, sweetie, but be patient.  

You've come to exactly the right place.  I'm reading your tarot cards right now, and I'm getting something.  (I mean, I'm shuffling.  Yes, that's it, I'm shuffling!)  Now I'm laying out the cards.  OMG!!!!  Something good is coming up!  The cards, they look good!

This is a time of wonder, a time of hope.  A time of new beginnings.  A time of listening to crappy crackly music while on hold.  A time to do alternate nostril breathing.  You remain optimistic in spite of the hassle-y business about the website and the plane tickets and the UK.  But more to the point:  are you going to Stonehenge?  If you do, bring one of those land xray things so you can see all the little bodies down below, sort of a miniature pompeii.

A Date?!!  You must write again.  Because although dating isn't something I participate in, I used to and I do know that where there's dating, there are problems, and where there are problems, there's a need for advice or horoscopes or fortunes.  


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Feature! Fortune telling...

Ok, a new year, a new feature.  You write to me with a question, problem, or anything at all.  You can write specifics of your situation, your favorite color or fruit, or something that happened to you on the way to the market.  Every TUESDAY, I'll respond to one letter with something -- a horoscope, fortune, forecast, tarot reading (as soon as I figure out what tarot really is -- I think it comes in a bag in the snack aisle?), or other.  (I like to pretend that I'll be selecting from a vast array of letters, when the fact is that I may have to make something up myself.  But that's okay -- I'll do it if I must.)

The women enjoying their sugar
on a winter's day. (It totally bugs
me when people call the bees "GIRLS".
 They're women, people!
You may wonder what my qualifications are -- can I actually see into the future?  Of course!  Okay, I have no qualifications at all.  But I have these random circumstances that may help me seem semi-believable:

1.  I live on top of a major earthquake fault.  This leak into the center of the earth allows deep knowledge to flow directly into my kitchen.

2.  I keep bees, which some say is a form of witchcraft.

3.  A strange little rabbit name Geoffrey has been hanging around my house for years now.  This may or may not relate.

It looks like the lights are on
but they burned out a while back.
4.  Even if your problem is really dumb, I won't make fun of you, because I have a huge host of dumb problems of my own.  For example, I can't figure out how to change the lightbulbs in my motion sensor light.  Leading to all manner of joke opportunities -- how many psychics does it take to change a lightbulb, and so on.  Apparently more than one.

5.  Sure, you can be anonymous if you want.

Think of it as better than a fortune cookie, because you don't have to add "in bed" to the end of it, and you don't have to eat greasy chinese food to get it!  Okay, operators are standing by, as they say...

Okay, the other thing is I started a FB page.  I know.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

We're IN the future!

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):  Inspiration is for amateurs, they say, so here we go, forging into the new year, ready or not.  Kicking off with a recommendation: the bacon and egg sandwich that Heather just served me is one of the highlights of my gastronomic year.  Perfect crispy bacon, just the right amount of mayonnaise, a toasty english muffin and most surprisingly, a pretty good tomato for January.  I'd eat another one in a jiffy but I won't.  Anyway, Pisces, the year ahead -- think more about stonehenge and the neolithic period in general.  Why not?  Stonehenge wasn't built by the druids!

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  I've been sleeping a lot lately, more than usual, even, because there's no time like the present.  (OH WAIT.  We're in the future!  It's not the present any more!)  But still, if you're going to sleep 12 hours a night, you've got to get cracking.  Or get napping, anyway. Anyway, here's another recommendation:  keep your windows open at night so that the room hovers between 37 and 42 degrees.  Pile on many heavy blankets, have an abundance of very good pillows, and breath cold fresh air from your warm nest.  Don't leave until you're absolutely ready.  It's best to eat heartily before you take to your bed because a person can get hungry in a dozen or more hours.  Also, it's time to buy new pillows.  Did you know that half the weight of a pillow is dead skin, mucus, and dust mite feces?  Not really.  But still, they do get gross.  Anyway, connect with your inner-ursine.  Put on a layer of fat and take to your cave.  

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):   Speaking of facts, I learned recently that 15 percent of all internet traffic is related to cats.  I think my fave is the existential cat.  Which means two things:  one is, I hope this blog isn't counted in the 15 percent.  I forgot the second thing.  So sorry, Taurus.  

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21):  One thing I'm especially grateful for at this cold clear time of year is the astronomists who came before us.  Aren't you, Gemini?  When I look up at the sky I think, wow, I could look at this for 50 years and not figure out the first thing about how it works.  It would still just be an amazing array of magic white sparkles on a black sky.  It wouldn't occur to me to note movement, name the particular stars, or distinguish one kind of shiny orb out there from another kind.  Which may seem a little strange for a fake astologist to confess -- like, "yeah, I don't know shit about the sky, I just write about how it's movements, which I don't actually notice, affect your life."  It's like I'm an celestial racist or something -- all the stars look alike to me, I can't tell one from the other.  (Oh, I hope that isn't inappropriate.)  Gemini, notice movement this week.  It's happening!

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  There's this basic conflict between the two categories of advice we recieve about how to live a better life:  one is to strive, work hard, don't waste your very short time on the planet.  The other is to be present in the moment, appreciate what you have right now.  Do these seem at odds with each other?  I'm going with the wu wei approach, and honing it to such a degree that I mostly lie in bed, thinking, and waiting for something to occur to me.  So far, nothing, but if I wait long enough.... Cancer, this year is bound to be better than last.  Travelling mercies.

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  I learned of a new trend, that of reducing one's calves through surgery.  We're talking about the human leg, not a baby cow.  The reason?  Because people can't fit into their fashion boots!  It's would be like this:  "I made you a pair of super cute pants!  Oh, they don't fit?  You should totally have chunks of your body lopped off so that you can fit into the pants!  Because they're super cute!"  Love the body you're in, Leo. And I speak as someone with a healthy-sized gastrocnemius, the sort that will never fit into slim little fashion boots, but could carry me through the Scottish Highlands if I were ever so lucky.
Before (L) and after (R).  OMG, the humans.  The fastest sperm
for billions of years lead to this moment, the moment in which
the leg on the left is determined to be so unsightly that it requires the knife.... 

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  Yesterday I was in the little grocery store in town -- by little, I mean it's the kind from the 70's before stores got all fancy.  But it has all the things you need, even garam masala and a bathroom (which is through the swinging doors in the employee area).  So anyway, I was walking down the aisle and heard someone talking, muttering loudly, so I turned around, and I guess he was talking to me because I was the only one in that aisle.  "There isn't even enough food in here to make a meal.  What kind of store is this?," he was ranting.  Ok, stop reading right here, Virgo.  What did the guy look like?  What kind of shoes?  Wrong!  He totally looked Stoessel-Creekish, and I mean that in the fondest way.  Carhart jacket, deer blood on his pants, bag of weed hanging out of his pocket.  Ok, not the weed, but you get the idea.  I asked what he was looking for, and he got all huffy, "FOOD.  I'm looking for FOOD," in a super irritated way, so I left him alone.  I'm not sure what the point is, Virgo.  I'll tell you the point:  I don't think I've been getting out enough to assemble decent horoscopes.

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  I was at a party the other night, and started to apply a rating scale that I've been developing to rate conversations.  I'm always wondering how to get to the downlow, as Starlee Kine says -- how to get a conversation off the mundane, and into interesting territory.  So the scale goes like this:  1 = your basic clerk transaction.  "Thank you! Have a terrific day!"  10 = super intense, there could be weeping involved (though this top end of the scale was questioned by pretty much every man at the party, who claimed to have never wept in a conversation.)  Ten is for conversations about death -- death of a relationship, human, beloved pet, or the end of a long nap.  I think there's a sweet spot for party chatter, somewhere around 6, where there's a nice mix of emotional vulnerability and interesting content.  See what you can do this week, Libra.  Get it going whereever you are.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  Speaking of garam masala, I ran out of it recently since I go through that stuff like coffee, mostly because I put it in the granola I make.  I know, that  makes me sound way crunchier than I am, but yum, it's SO good.  I'm NOT CRUNCHY, people!  I get the flu shot, fer goddsakes.  At any rate, it was the day before christmas, and all through the store people were clogging the aisles and buying things, and a woman was right in front of the spices, and I was trying, with my dim little eyes, to read the tiny labels, and she turned and asked what I was looking for, so I told her, (without the whole bit about my most excellent granola or how I had my children vaccinated.)  So she starts really looking for it, as if she worked there and really cared.  Me, I had kind of moved on.  I can be the opposite of persevering when it comes to looking for garam masala, it turns out. Anyway, she looked in the alphabetical order spot for the three different spice groups, didn't find it.  Oh well, was my attitude.  But she was really focused, seriously focused for about 10 minutes on it.  Which is when I noticed that she too seemed kind of stoned.  Eventually, I was able to talk her out of looking for it, and she said, "Oh, there's a new indian store.  You should go there!"  
"Cool.  Where is it?"
"You know that road?  That one, it kind of goes straight, and then sort of bends?"  She was using hand motions to show the slight bend.
"You know the one!  The one with dogs sometimes walking around?  That one?"
"Oh, that one!"
Yep, the one with dogs walking around.  That totally geolocates it for us.  Anyway, Scorp, the legalization of marijuana is making the shopping experience more interesting, I'd say.

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  Oh right!  This is the future!  We are in the Back to the Future movie, in the actual future, and we walked right in effortlessly, not even wearing space suits or anything.  Because you can't live in the present forever, you know.  Anyway, I was talking to a few friends and they were lamenting that the future doesn't involve flying cars and jet packs, but just the same old stuff.  I said, "well, at least we have the Outernet!"  And no one had heard of it.  Which made me question myself, the way I do.  "Seriously, I think that's a thing.  Or did I just dream that?"  
"What is it?"

"Well, it's like a library in your pocket.  Downloading from space through a lantern."  

The more I talked about it, the more made up it sounded, and I could tell that was true because everyone was looking at me with the, hmm, "is she not quite right in the head?," and asking questions that I couldn't answer, like, um, what makes it different than the internet?  All I could say is that it's the outernet.  Look it up.

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):  According to Sherwin Nuland, our deepest desire is to be understood, and, to paraphrase, the more personal and intimate we are with the other humans, the better our lives are.  I believe that, which is probably why I have this blog.  Seek to understand and be understood, Cap.  And when you find people who understand you, cherish them. Understanding, being understood -- it's all part of the same coin, as they say.  Speaking of coins, one thing I love about the carwash is that it uses special currency, the carwash token.  The other thing that requires unique coinage is the shower at a state park, which is a different fake quarter from the carwash token.  Imagine what the world would be like if each thing you needed had a different type of token.  "Sorry, you need the brocolli chip for that -- I can't take your US$."  Wouldn't that be kind of awesome, in a way?  And what if you had to earn certain kinds of tokens through certain acts?  For acts of generosity, you would earn tokens for chocolate, and for acts of perseverence, you'd get coinage for protein, and for acts of courage, I dunno, whisky? And so on.  It would require that, to get the variety of things we each need: air, water, love -- that we offer a variety of things out to the world.  Anyway, have a good week, Cap.

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  I joined GoodReads lately, or maybe I joined years ago and forgot about it.  Anyway, it's out of remission and I'm totally enjoying it because I get e-mails telling me what my GR friends are reading.  If anyone wants to be my GR friend, hit me up!  I will stalk your reading habits in the most loving way.