Web Journal astrofish.net for Capricorn, 2002:

Still having trouble with the "in" versus the "out" bound mail while in Dallas. Must be a Mercury thing, Mercury as in the planet, not the substance. Or car brand. Saw The Opera [Gotterdamrung] last night.. Most excellent. See: The Seattle version was fresh in my mind so there were plenty of points for comparison. More about that when I get a coherent moment. Ma Wetzel was just sure I was going to be let down, but you know, for a little regional version [Dallas Opera] they did a damn fine job. The one bad guy was really bad, and that might be all that much better. Me and The Virgo ducked into a pub, for a quick after the show drink. A friend of a friend from Austin was supposed to be there. Didn't see him, but we did feel a little overdressed. Me in black tie, her just in black [opera wear]. Rather amusing. Never did find the lad. Didn't much care, either, Been a while since I've seen a real mohawk hair cut [not some impostor looking thing.] "See honey, don't I take you to just the finest places?"
Best collard greens I've had in a long time, maybe ever — Bouldin Creek Coffee House [motto: Caffeine Dealer]. Airport opinions. No long line, no big deal. Although, I'm pretty sure the flight back on Sunday night will be the proverbial zoo. The biggest deal yesterday was the small bottle of water I had, tucked in a pocket of my carry–on bag, "You'll have to take a drink out of that," the security guard told me. "Sure," and I smiled. When she heard the cap pop open and realized it was a factory–sealed bottle, she told me to skip it. I took a swig, anyway, "Always want to make you guys happy," I tired to assure her. I wonder if this is forcing folks to learn to be more polite these days? My favorite was still the security in El Paso, a few weeks ago, that was a new high point. I got searched because I was who I was. [Or maybe she wanted something from me?] Dallas is cold, and the e–mail isn't sending. Must be a Dallas thing.
The "White Trash" bumper sticker was one of Bubba's creations. Too bad the digital image didn't turn out — it's obviously a modified "Waterloo Records" sticker. Plus, of course, the requisite Mud Flap Girls. He was mighty proud of that image. Had an interesting afternoon, another trip to Fry's to look for a printer, "I'm a girl; we can't buy mechanical device without a male to help us," she said. Yeah, sure. It was an excuse for a road trip, and it turned out I was a big asset — I think. There was one printer, with an instant rebate for $30, and another mail in rebate for $20, bringing the price down to an even $20. But checking a few aisles over, the price of a single ink cartridge was $44. Compared with come other printers, slightly more expensive, the price of the consumable product was a lot less. Then, last night, after a flurry of e–mails to arrange it, a small group of friends got together to watch a [famous German silent movie director] 1926 silent version of Faust. Being silent and all, the Alamo Drafthouse added the Golden Arm Trio, and I never could figure out what kind of music they played. Supposedly jazz? Whatever it was, the three–piece group provided the most amazing accompaniment to the movie. Plus, the pizza was good. Aquarius, Pisces, Scorpio, Aries. Off to Dallas for the weekend to see some more Wagner Opera, Gotterdamrung. All this heavy kraut culture.
Reading: Willie Nelson's The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes. I can't say that it's novel, or, for that matter, any jokes that I haven't already seen, some more times than I like, but the book's an interesting look into that Texas Icon, and all around good guy, Willie Nelson. Of course, more than one person has suggested he's a saint. I've already read the story behind the song, "On the Road Again," and that was amusing — the anthem almost didn't make the cut. Bubba's most recent Willie story: "I was standing in line at the commissary, and I heard someone behind me ask, 'Am I needed on the set now?' I turned around, and there He was. I pulled out a card, said, 'I work at a company you started,' handed him the card and a pen, and said, 'sign.'" [Early in the book, Willie mentions something about his Taurus nature.] Now, how do you top a situation like this: I met client for an afternoon reading, and true to "keep Austin weird" style, she was wearing, and I am not making this up, a University of Texas cheerleader's skirt/outfit. [Black hose, black sweater over a burnt orange T.] Now, it did get weirder, as Bubba the Gemini, after retelling his Willie story [Willie Nelson, not some other Willie], wanted some dinner, and we were off. He was in rare form. Better yet, it was just nice enough to sit outside. The table next to us was full of a rather intoxicated crowd, "There's nothing more entertaining than drunk white people." I think it was that third cup of coffee after dinner — it was a "hell freezes over" situation as Bubba actually paid for the meal — and I got hom
I wonder, is it so wrong to ask to be paid for one's work? When I was at Sam's, after Monday's abortive attempt to buy a color toy, I snapped up some rather inexpensive computer speakers [complete with sub–woofer], for a mere $30. Then, after plugging it all in, I tried the Apple Quick Time Radio thing. Rio Grande Mud Radio, streaming in. Really strange call from Sister, as she was packing for an overseas flight. She turns to her brother for computer guidelines and information about what she can and can't take on the plane. Pencil sharpener? Why chance it? Some security guard will notice that it has a tiny blade in it. Computer? No problem. She was worried about checking things like her printer and stuff, deathly afraid they [don't know who "they" are] would think it was bomb. No man, it's computer stuff. Different kind of explosive. But I did suggest no metal objects. Can't ever tell if the Gemini's are listening, though. Late night last night for readings, nothing during the day, but plenty of stuff after the sun went done. Felt like I was on the phone for the whole night. Little towns in Texas, got to love the people in them. For dinner last night, I had a Slim Jim, complete with its "mechanically separated chicken" whatever that means. Being the connoisseur that she is, my cat turns her nose up at the mechanically separated chicken parts. I think it's a bit snobbish, myself. Had a long discourse with first a Gemini then a Leo over my lunch at the BBQ joint, round the corner from home.
From the unsolicted criticism department:
"Why is it that I can't bypass your crummy predictions and keep a book mark that takes me right to your sometimes interesting journal or kitty cam? Bad design. Not user friendly at all. -- CVR"
Let me say this about that: 98% of the site's use goes to those "crummy predictions." Then there's the people who actually know how to use a browser and mouse. It's easy to skip the front frame, if you know what you're doing. This isn't rocket science. I had some BBQ — way up in Far North Austin, on the edge of the gently rolling prairie, with Bubba, yesterday afternoon. What was I doing so far from home? I'd gone to look at a sale item. In Sunday's paper, I thought I saw Handspring Prisms for $199. I checked on ebay, on the Handspring web site, and I decided that $200 was a good price for a new, color Handspring Visor. What it was, that pesky fineprint that I didn't read, they had reconditioned Prisms for that price. It was a good weekend, but it wasn't good enough that I could really afford a new toy. The existing model [platinum] works just fine as a phone, pedometer, camera, date & address book, and so forth. On the wall at the BBQ joint, there was a tasty bit of advice: "Talk is cheap because there's more supply than demand." Perfect answer for the criticism.
Woke up yesterday morning with the cat reminding me to feed her — she's back to normal after a bad case of fleas. I had to get her to go back to sleep because it was a cold, clear Sunday morning. I was looking out of the trailer's window just as the sun popped up over the horizon, means that I had that blinding flash of light while I was trying to open a can of cat food and grind coffee beans, both of which are the morning ritual. The order is dictated by relative needs. After more than 7 years of riding herd on the boys in the backroom on Sunday nights, it's so weird to have nothing to do Sunday night. No rush, no crush, no big deals. Of course, when I don't get a break until 4 in the afternoon, I'm a little fried by the end of the day, anyway. Then, stumbling around on the net last night, I read this. It goes back to something I'd long–forgotten: success. A good friend of mine, Scorpio, defines success in terms of billable hours. I tend to define success in terms of hours — or days — not wearing shoes.
"Where's your hairdryer?" I have a cat. The cat is happy. I have no hair dryer. There's some kind of logic in there, but I'm not sure. I started at 10 AM, yesterday morning, and I took my first breather after 4 PM. That's too long. To think, I missed putting on the requisite "psychic fair" uniform, as one reader called it — lots of eye liner, lots of eye shadow, heavy blusher. I guess I should find someone to help me with the proper make up. Better yet, at dinner, long after we had all folded up, I had a Pisces on either side. One of them leans over, and tells me that her husband [Bubba, sitting on her other side], looks really good in jeans, a white pressed shirt and a sports jacket. "No, honey," he gently corrected her, "you were supposed to tell Kramer that he looked good in a jeans, sports coat and a white pressed shirt." "But dear, you look good in jeans, a white shirt and a sport coat," she dryly amended. I'll wear something different today. I saw a kilt the other night. "Utility Kilt," and I'm not making that one up. Somehow, I just don't feel motivated to wear a dress. Or the make up. Well, maybe a little eye liner....
I feel their pain. Ever wonder how many times I get to see some jokes? Today: Austin Fair. Yesterday? Late dinner at Magnolia. Prediction panel. Lunch at Green Mesquite BBQ. Coffee at Bouldin Creek. Someplace in between it all, I found myself meandering, not pointlessly, just dawdling along, the hike and bike trail. The river's water, right after Barton Creek, the color turned a sort of teal. It's the limestone spring water meeting the muddy Colorado. I stopped and stared at a strange, out of place aspen, the leaves were brilliant shades of red, some rimmed with yellow. Or flecked with orange. The winter's day [supposedly winter, I was wearing boots and flannel shirt] smelled like old oak leaves — there were plenty of them on the ground. It felt like an autumn day. Predictions? Going to be a hot summer. Air signs have the Mercury Retrogrades this year and Scorpio has a Venus Retrograde. Other than that? I guess you had to be there. I'm taking a Capricorn to the airport then going to work.
I did a quick back up of my critical data last night, just the important stuff, the web files, the archives of my astrology research, financial information for the company — a back up I do about three times a week. It was almost 30 megabytes, took less than a minute, fit on a card about the size of thick credit card. With room to spare. Exactly ten years ago, I did back up, only about 20 megs of data — everything on the computer's hard drive. I did it over a local network, took close to two hours. Isn't this technology wonderful? I got the new bug zapper set up the other afternoon. But even my Gemini friend decided that if I hung the lamp inside the trailer, even she wouldn't find it all that attractive. But it's got one of those nice, black–light kind of a glow. Looks like a black light, zaps flying critters, best of both worlds, mood lighting and pest control. Sort of like taking a date down to watch the bats fly out on summer nights in Austin. Romantic yet functional. I cruised out last night to meet and greet, do a reading, that sort of a thing, and there was a huge cloud of gnats swarming in the parking lot. Think about that bug light. Rolling on home, late, the weather had shifted, and there weren't any clouds of bugs. I faced into a cold, dark, damp northern wind as I wound my way back to Shady Acres. It's early January, and it's really almost shorts weather again. Might change, though. I stumbled onto a steal of a deal last night on Amazon — Dreamweaver, the missing manual, sale price $7. I ordered it. But check out the details of the transaction: Subtotal: $ 7.48 — Shipping & handling: $ 8.98 — Total: $ 16.46 The shipping was more than the book itself. Isn't this technology just grand?
> Looks like the changes are sinking in..
> No yearly, no Elvis, no monthlies, and the
> weeklies have moved to Thursday.
> That's a lot for the madding crowd to
> cope with.
> Evidently, we have been spoiled.
> Alas, we fail to recognize that astrologers
> are human too. We must gather
> together and form a support group now.
Yesterday afternoon, one of my favorite Gemini's calls me up, leaves a message, and I returned her call, answering her with a very Gemini–like, "Now! Right NOW!" "Who is th... Kramer? Oh, okay. I'll be over in a minute." Last night, Bubba still wanted to look for some exotic boots. I went along for the ride. No luck. Over $600 for handmade Elephant. [I noted that handmade black–cherry full–quill ostrichLucchese were still $799, I was wearing my pair.] Radio this morning: the Oldies station, which, all things considered, isn't too bad. At least the music won't be too loud. I'm wondering if I should raise my prices — check it out: at a psychic fair, I charge $25 for a quick reading. The tape is figured into the price, I buy bulk so that's only about 50 cents. [Special tapes, 10 minutes on a side, works like a timer.] The portable printer [when it works] burns through ink at a rate of 100+ pages per $20 cartridge, and I don't feel like figuring the price of single sheet of paper, so let's call that a quarter, for the chart itself. So it's up to a dollar for expenses. "Table fee" for the promoter. Then there's the state and federal tax, 8% plus 25%, so I'm actually making about $17 for each reading. To think, I wondered why one female reader was charging $27 for a reading. Only makes sense, now. Business gives me a headache. When I'm really rolling at a fair, I can knock out 4 or 5 readings in an hour. That still doesn't work out quite right. Maybe I need to adjust my prices.
I need a theme song for "Leaving El Paso behind me..." or, "Leaving El Paso in the dust..." or, "The lights of El Paso over the wing of 737...." But none of it scanned right. I was just checking out of the hotel yesterday morning when my Aries hostess showed up. We were off to a computer store in Las Cruces because somebody's computer [not mine] had a problem, and wasn't working right. If your Macintosh is ever stranded in Far West Texas, see the Mac Doctor in Las Cruces [NM]. Cool shop, knowledgeable service. From there, it was off to the Double Eagle, in what I would guess was "old–time Las Cruces," but, in fact, is referred to as Messila. Why's that name familiar? Billy the Kid was tried there. Now, when I got dropped off at the airport, allowing for delays, I breezed right through the lobby, and on up to security. "Hey, you were at the psychic fair last weekend, weren't you?" I still had to take my boots off, and they still decided to search my bag by hand. Musical note: "If it's too loud, then you're too old!" I couldn't believe it, last night, out of the hundreds of e-mails that I got when I rambled into the trailer, there were a couple of rather irritable folks because there was no monthly scope, no yearly scope, and no Elvis scope. Heard it again last night on the plane: "So you're a musician?" No man, I'm an astrologer.
I liked that Time Canada leaked the latest Apple News, and I was able to find out a little ahead of schedule just what the Next Big Thing was. I must admit, I wasn't that impressed. But I've been working with Mac OS X for about a month now, this trip to El Paso being the first serious road trip, and I like it all. I'm in a UNIX state of mind with OS X. [Computer humor, okay?] Most interesting e–mail on Monday morning: "Will you perform a wedding ceremony for us? None of that traditional stuff...." As long as I don't have to do it in the nude, sure. I had a big lunch with Grace, Bubba, Bubba, Linda and Yanni. The girls were between readings. I was hoping to go shopping with Bubba for boots. Instead, Grace and Bubba and I headed off to Speaking Rock for a little afternoon gambling. Casino: Speaking Rock, interesting story.... Grace forgot her membership card so she had to sign up for a new one. While she was at the desk, I dropped a dollar in the dollar slot machines, this is usually a sucker bet, and I won a quick $40. First play. We played and gamboled for about an hour, and near as I could tell, I came out ahead from the last time I was at this casino. The luck started when with that first sucker bet. Of course, we left long before sundown, so I didn't have a chance to lose it all back. The story I got about Speaking Rock, see, the State of Texas is trying to close down that casino and its tribal council: imagine that, the white man is complaining that the Indians went back on their solemn word. This humor is lost on some.
El Paso, Texas, is a strange place. It has a strong Mexican flavor. I used to be be more politically correct and call it a "Hispanic flavor," but I was once vehemently corrected about that. "That's Mexico over there, Ciudad Juarez, to be precise, not 'Hispana' — where a 'Hispanic' would come from. Get it straight, bubba." Okay, got the message. El Paso has a strong Mexican flavor — like the shredded beef and egg dish at the truck stop. Like hot sauce that is genuinely spicy. Long day after that truck stop breakfast, I don't remember much else. Ran out of tapes around three in the afternoon, and didn't do my last reading until after 8. Over dinner, I was told I was, "Cryptic Kramer Clown." Seeing as how I was five hours short of blank tapes, I was glad to see yesterday's prediction was correct.
I looked at the last question from yesterday morning, while still at the airport in Austin, and all I could think about was a regular reader who prefaced [her] note with, "I've never sent you any money, but I need your scopes on Monday...." As a writer, that's a nice sentiment, as a business person, though, it doesn't add up. If readers can't possibly live without my scopes on Monday, then why didn't that person ever vote with the checkbook or credit card? Breakfast taco at the airport, cup of coffee on the airplane. Work all day, grab a bite and crash at the hotel. Apparently, the promoter out here did a good job of getting the word on the street [and in the paper, and on the TV]. Best line was folks recalling what my weather prediction was for last month — I was right, if off by a week or ten days. Astrology and weather forecasting. I might have a future in weather, if this astrology thing doesn't work out. Of course, judging by yesterday's response, this astrology thing is going along just fine. I can only hope today is as busy — I love running out of tapes before the end of the day.
My Alaska friend came by again yesterday morning, we hung out and then had some breakfast, around two in the afternoon. At Magnolia. Cliff [Ledge] greeted us. He's a Sag. Travis was there, he's a Sag. New waitress waited on us: Sag. Baby sitting in the booth next to us, flirted with my friend; I asked the baby's birthday: Sag. Just one of those things, we get on tear and it's everywhere. Red–eye to El Paso, and work. At least, I hope there's work. I do believe that's the objective of this exercise. I was noodling, trying to pretend like I was sleepy last night, and I got to thinking I should drop an e–mail to some of the places that point to me, let them know it's a Thursday column instead of a Monday column now. But that accounts for less than 3% of the site's traffic, is it worth the effort?
My friend from Alaska is in town, so when she showed up on the trailer's doorstep, I was sure she brought all this miserable cold weather with her. Readings, coffee, more readings, more coffee, stop by Jo's on the way home for even a little more coffee. Dinner with my Pisces friend. Then we took off in search of something or other. Ran into a local star, shopping for a space heater in the Large Raw Materials' Store. [Running into Austin's musical elite is not uncommon around here.] Okay, so this strange, that musician? She's a Pisces. I was with a Pisces the first time I met her, and I was with my Pisces friend last night. That musician kept looking at me, and I could see she couldn't quite remember where she knew me from. That encountered prompted an observation that the "old Austin" sense and sensibility is starting to come back. Life is getting back to its normal weirdness quotient. Fished this out of the mailbag late last night:

> It's kind of funny on the free astrology sites,
> though, a lot of readers get
> very upset when their horoscopes aren't posted on time.
> You have to wonder, how did they get through
> life before free internet astrology sites?
Black–eyed Peas are a Southern tradition for New Year's Day. Being in Austin and all, though, I was wondering why no one had done "Refried Black–eyed Peas." It just seemed right. Something a local restaurant would come up with. Folks writing in, continuing to ask for the monthly horoscope, as if it were a right. Chips and Salsa, that's a right. A free monthly horror scope? No way, man. Natural fit for me: FW Weekly. Dallas Observer. Austin Chronicle. This is so me. Holiday is over, time for work. And work it's been, since last night. I tanked up on coffee at Curra's, and had some of their "Chili Cheese Fries." I asked The Virgo if they weren't the best cheese fries, and tried to get her to compare them to the fries at Snuffer's in Dallas. "Can't compare — two different animals, chili cheese fries and cheese fries — they're just different." I guess it's a Virgo thing. I got into high gear when I got home. Today, inauspicious as it may seem, is the first of the Thursday columns. I've got to switch gears — I've got a year's worth of these things to "flesh out" before too long, and I'm not sure how I'm going to adapt to the new schedule. Monday won't be a madhouse. And weekends used to be the slowest days for the server, I'm just curious to see how this works out. What will the boys in the back room say? Nothing like a little freezing weather to make the cat more appreciative of my warmth. Nasty computer problem took three hours to sort out — all for the want of a few digits in the right place, and all I was doing was checking my network connection for this weekend.
New Year's day: nothing. Meant to catch up on a lot of computer work, but somehow, waking up rather late in the day, getting plateful of vegetables at Threadgill's [special trip to the North store], didn't do much else. Saw a movie last night, "The Royal Tenebaums" [not sure about the spelling of the title]. The most disconcerting thing about the movie was that so many people were there, and, strangely enough, they all laughed at the same jokes I laughed at. It was one of those weird, comedy of manners, type of thing. I commented that there was no gore, but I was corrected, but frankly, pretty low on the gore meter. Pretty low on the sexually explicit meter, unless you count Gweneth's [whatshername] heavy eye shadow. Pretty funny movie, in a droll, weird, quiet — off–beat way. A comedy of manners, if you ask me.
> First off, great idea for moving the publish date
> to Thursdays. I cringe at
> the thought of ANYONE working Sunday
> nights. A wise manuever for you.
> Don't worry, we'll adjust.
Last night we started at the Hula Hut. I believe it's a sign of a certain age, when I split an entree with someone instead of trying to finish it all myself. Then went to the show, me in High Rodeo Drag: Boots, jeans, belt, tuxedo shirt, special cufflinks, string tie. Cowboy hat. Western Yoke sports jacket. A couple of cigars. It's traditional: me and Bubba, we like a Cuban at midnight. As long as I've known that guy, I don't think Bubba has ever seen so dressed up. Always nice to hear some male friend saying, "You shore clean up nice." REK is a Capricorn [I asked him.]
We stopped off at Jo's to grab a quick cup of coffee yesterday afternoon. In the foam at the top, written in chocolate, the Coffee Girl wrote "02." Highpoints, lowpoints — 2001: Musically, my CD collection tripled in the last year. More "Western" as well as "techno" plus a few classics. My favorite fishing tale, from this last year, about the motor stopping in the middle of the lake, and then we just fished all the way back to the dock — trolling motor. It was a great day. Saw Robert Earl Keen and his "Texas Uprising" in Ft. Worth last spring. Saw Lyle Lovett at the Bass Performance Hall, again, in Ft. Worth. Saw Wagner's Ring Cycle in Seattle. The Eagles, in Dallas. Amazing. Watched a friend "tie the knot" in the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas. Enjoyed rare cactus flowers last spring in the middle of the Permian Basin. Watched in utter shock and disbelief while the world came to an end, in NYC. [Got saturated with media, too.] Which then had a strange effect on my trip to Europe — but I did make it to Amsterdam, and I did go with the very best possible companion to be with in that city, along with its various "eccentricities." And while I'm thinking about it, I spent a fair portion of the last year waiting on various female friends while they tried on bras. It's really hard to look macho while you're standing outside the dressing rooms, surrounded by packages. The world did change [Pluto/Saturn opposition], and the fight isn't over yet. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "It ain't the end and it ain't the beginning, but it might be the beginning of the the end." Since I was dropped by Astronet, I didn't do a "year overview" and I had to rethink doing monthlies [takes too long, no longer amuses]. After a near death experience, some three and half years ago, there's always been a little worry about my health. But now I'm more healthy — and more normal — than anyone else in my family. Which isn't really saying a lot. Party tonight: Robert Earl Keen at the Austin Music Hall. Thanks for all the fish, Bubba.
My Capricorn red head called me up yesterday morning, wanted to do something — something turned out to be breakfast tacos in my trailer. Ask her about the details. Year end web stats [reporting period is not yet over.] 97% of the hits are generated by astrofish.net. [Less than 3% of the web site's traffic is from referrals, i.e., search engines and portals.] Traffic has not quite doubled in the last year. "I never worked a day in my life I just lay back and let the big beat lead me." [from Fat Boy Slim]. I got an e–mail from [unknown] last night, while I was waiting on my little Capricorn friends to show up. I was trying to figure out who sent it, so I looked up some of the web addresses attached to other recipients. Lots of interesting astrology out there — must've been from another former Astronet.com contact. And, after looking at the web pages, there were several, I found one guy who uses a similar method to my own, plus: the cash crunch is hitting a lot of "free" astrology sites. I stumbled across the nicest rant. Sounds familiar. B–52's then Metallica. Sure. Who said I had to be coherent? It was that afternoon coffee at Bouldin Creek Caffeine Dealer. Good brew. Even more interesting, watching the folks drift in and out. "C'est tres bizarre."
I finally got the burner working, and I hope I get a chance to mix up some techno — disco — punk — country — western — acid house music for the party tonight. But it looks like I'm out of time. I had that strange, displaced feeling yesterday afternoon, Vietnamese [or Thai or whatever it's properly called] chain restaurant, and in the back kitchen, conjunto — Tejano music.
This is weird:

"CA gives me weird dreams. Almost prophetic in some way. Last night you were in one of them, or rather, a pseudo-interpretation of you as we have never met..
"I was on this golf course. Nice sunny day, green grass with tall trees all around. I'm walking around and I see you wearing your trademark shorts and Hawaiian print shirt. You're pushing around these shopping carts, trying to get them all collected just like a bag-boy at a grocery store. For some reason, the golf course was littered with shopping carts and it was your job to gather them up. Noticing that you're overwhelmed with this 'work', I start helping you out.
"I manage to get about five of them stacked and I leave them next to this creek bed. All of a sudden you stop and tell me, "no man, they go over there." and lo and behold, there was this 'Mecca' of shopping carts on the horizon..
"Don't remember much after that. But, there you have it. If astrology doesn't work out for you, you can always be the retriever of shopping carts on the golf course of life. Yeah, that's it. Or something like that. Right on."
I'll admit it was very amusing note. I should be flattered to be showing in someone's dreams. It took several hours of research to figure out how to raise the prices. I'm a little torn — there's so much that's offered, but so much of it is of dubious quality. Comparing my transit reports, though, I'm way far ahead of the rest, near as I can tell. Even if my price has gone up.

The blood doctor called yesterday morning, I'm normal. I had to turn the music down, it was Lyle Lovett singing about the front porch. Which started a music roll: Lyle Lovett [saw him at the Bass Hall in Ft. Worth late last summer], two of REK's CD's [saw him twice in Ft. Worth, once inside, once outside], and the Derailer's opened for REK one time, plus I saw them a couple of other times — at the Spoke — again, earlier this month at the Armadillo Bazaar, and then there's Hank III, caught him once at the legendary Continental Club plus — just last week up in the suburbs — doing his "country" act. So that's what's in the player right now. Most of this is Western Music, and predominately "outlaw" except for Lyle, and he just defies any category. Had dinner with a Capricorn at the Hut, "I want some place by the water," and then I spent the rest of the night arguing with the CD burner software that doesn't want to burn anymore. Download update after update, and somehow the magical connection just isn't working right.
Home again. I left "Dallas" at 2:00 PM, and I got home, just after dark. I think most of the trip was spent in line — in fact, I spent more time in the line getting to the SWA counter in Love Field than I spent any other place. The nicest thing was that folks seemed to be rather polite about the lines and the delay. Losing one's temper at the beleaguered staff doesn't yield much — customer service is rapidly fading. From the reports, though, only Southwest was busy. Cattle car ride home, as it were. A couple of thoughts about this recent Christmas, though, what might be considered the strangest gift, as it turns out, might be the most useful — although I'm sure it will raise some neighbor's ire: a bug zapper lamp. I intend to hang out right outside the trailer's back door, so I can enjoy the cool evening breeze blowing in from the lake, and still live in a relatively insect free environment. Eventually, in the middle of the summer, the bats take over, but there are a couple of months in the spring, and just last fall, when this would be the perfect addition to trailer life. Ma Wetzel snapped a perfect picture, and since we have her using a digital camera, the pictures are up here.
I spent large portion of Xmas afternoon, working on a robot — "age 8 and up" with that ubiquitous "some assembly required" note. I picked it up for Pa Wetzel and me — just an idea that maybe we could do something together, Xmas afternoon. Worked like a champ — the idea, not the robot. Oh yes, eventually we got it working. But for an engineer, he wasn't very good at following the instructions and diagrams, but then, as the writer, neither was I. "What is it?" Ma Wetzel kept pestering us. "A robot, comes when called, does everything on his command." "Right," Ma Wetzel replied, "what does he need one of those for? He's already got me." As if. I'm glad I'm headed home to Austin this afternoon. But building a robot was fun. Doesn't really do a lot, but it was a good exercise in [something].
Merry Xmas. Had dinner last night with a lot of my cousins, nieces, nephews, all that. One side of my family, not distant cousins or anything — one group is so straight–laced it's amazing that we have any blood in common. [Mother's brother's chirren — 1st cuz.] It wasn't until recently that I finally realized, with my "performing arts" sister, and the astrologer [myself], we must be the eccentric side of the family — by their standards. Everyone needs that one branch of the family tree that's just a little odd. It fell to us to do that for the Dallas Cousins. Can't say we're the strangest ones in the whole family, but you never can tell. One of my cousins has a beautiful boy child, my nephew — looking at the astrology charts: this cousin's offspring is going to be just like me. I always knew there would be a pay–off in the family tree, someplace. At the Xmas service we all went to, the pastor noted, "Kids & Christmas = Chaos." I liked that. I also wondered about the passion play where the three wiseman looked a lot like the racial profile of certain wanted person. I don;'t get the math, either, but it's like this, start with sugar, add 4 children under 4, and see that the screams, tears and laughter all multiplies. Must be the sugar.
Xmas Eve. Family. Friends. Flames. Dallas. I tend to believe that the world's best hamburger is at a little place — it used to be a sleazy dive — called Snuffers, on lower Greenville Ave. Of course, I can also remember when it was considered a disreputable side of town, the "wrong" side of the tracks, so to speak. Not like that anymore, and it was in the last year or two, I had to get my truck valet parked at Snuffer's — I mean, what kind of a dive is a that? So it's lost some of its appeal, I still think it's the best source for a plain cheeseburger, and I still consider their "cheese fries" the item that needs to be lived up to, the ultimate test. Near as I can tell, the fries are fried, then slopped onto a plate [save that extra grease], throw on cheese, chives, jalapeño and real bacon bits across the top, and then bake the whole mess to make sure it's all soggy enough. Very good on a warm, cool, sunny but cold day in Dallas. I accompanied the Virgo to the store, and I did my best to make sure it was a fun experience. While she was shopping for girls, age 2 to 20, I made sure every toy on the aisle — if it had a "play" button — I would push it. The most satisfying response came from a batch of 'Monsters, Inc.' toys, and they had a longer noise patterns, get a bunch of them all braying at the same time. Bet I never get asked to go shopping — ever again.
My Virgo friend in Dallas has a pair of teenage daughters — her own — that she raises. Having been around the teenagers, and comparing them to traveling with Pa Wetzel, I wonder, sometimes, if there's much of a difference. Pa Wetzel still gets that child–like glee from something as simple as a train ride. We hopped the Trinity River Express. About an hour later, we were supposed to be in Ft. Worth. I tried to pick up the tab for both our tickets, and I paid $4 for mine — as we later found out, Pa Wetzel [Senior discount] should only pay $1. Through a miscalculation, we spent an hour in the DFW Airport station, waiting on a Ft. Worth train to catch up with us. Back to that idea of keeping a small child — or teenage daughter — occupied. It was so pretty out, I kept shedding my sport coat, then putting it back on, wishing for that hat I was about to buy — something to keep the sun out of my eyes. I watched airplanes in the landing patterns. Watched as various travelers rolled up to the station. Finally — we made it to Ft. Worth. From the train station, it's only about three blocks, maybe even less, to Peter Bros. Hat company. It was the perfect stroll for Pa Wetzel. We got there, spent a long time asking questions about hats, wished that we'd caught the owner in, "Man, I just work here. You got to talk to Joe. He can tell what kind of a personality you have, and what you do for a living by your hat size." For an Xmas gift to myself, I got a real Peter Brothers 'Made in Ft. Worth' Beaver 'bad boy' cowboy hat. Like that one on the wall, only better. And for Pa Wetzel? I got him another summer straw, as that was what he wanted. It's so nice to travel with my immediate family members, and have them get more comments than I get. Only once, did I hear that comment, "You look like that guy who plays guitar...." Everybody else was interested in Pa Wetzel, his Hamburg Hat, and his special Xmas coat & bow tie. Late last night, I was trying to get the parts and pieces of software to work together to get a picture of hats, a hatbox, and the Xmas tree up. Ma Wetzel was muttering about how I never write anything nice about Scorpio. I pointed her to the current scope — "That's so nice," she says, eyeing me with suspicion, "so what do you want?"
"What do you say about Scorpio? I'm sure it's not any good." Ma Wetzel told me this morning over breakfast. I went to the doctor's for a little blood–letting. Been most near a year since I was last at the blood doc's place. New crew of vampires, took three stabs to finally starting filling up the two quart bottles. Seems like I'm fit as can be, though, except now I have arms that look like junkie. Went to catch Hank III in the suburbs last night. He sure can sing songs. He managed to work in three of his "speed metal" songs at the very end of he set. Amazing voice, amazing talent, and a darn good entertainer. If the show itself hadn't been so good, just watching the audience alone was interesting as can be. A smattering of punks, tattoos, a few real hillbillies, and lots of North Dallas cowboys. But even some of the North Dallas cowboys had to admit the last few songs really did rock. Me and my Virgo friend, she got lucky, he ears popped before the night was through. I was thinking, small venue and all,, that it was great as my ears weren't going to be ringing at the end of the night. Old Hank Three did crank it up on those last numbers.
Yesterday morning, I was up before the sun, dropping food in the cat's dish, and I noticed the phone was ringing. I grabbed the handset and kept blindly stabbing at the button in the dark, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the thing to answer fast enough. "I'm running late," Elaine the Leo was telling me — the one morning I was on time. I convinced her to go by that same star bucks I was at the other night. Again, long hair down, sport coat, I tend to get a different reaction. I made some pre–caffeine comment, and the person behind the counter was so sweet, I just shut up. "But I really am here to help you get started first thing in the morning." So sweet, so innocent. I'm so cynical these days. I snagged 4–pack of [triple egg nog latté], one for Elaine, one for Pisces Peanut, one for me, of course, and one for a back up. Elaine took one whiff of the coffee in question, "Hey, that have liquor in it?" I looked outside. The sun was still not up. "No," I answered, "the sun's not up yet. I try not to drink before sunup these days." That's one of those "whatchamacallits," memory thing. I think Xmas in Texas when I smell egg nog. I don't think bourbon in that egg nog. But then, maybe that's just me. Elaine, she smelled bourbon with egg nog.

© all original contents copyright Kramer Wetzel for astrofish.net, 2001