Thursday, February 27, 2014

Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire?

There's a sense of peace that comes over many people the day that Mercury goes direct. For the record, this is Friday at 9:00am EST. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and enjoys the time until Mercury decides to retrograde again. 

Sadly, that is not really to be this time. 

I know what you're thinking. You're saying, "John, what the fuck? We had Merc retro late last year and then Venus retrograde over February and Valentine's Day. With Mercury's retrograde over, what exactly could be coming now?"

Good readers, while I apologize for the inconvenience, Mars is going retrograde beginning March 1 at 11:23am EST, and its effects will continue to be felt even into July 2014. 

Everyone talks about Merc retro these days, but mighty Mars, the Marauder or "bully" of the astrological planets, can also be a problem. 

Mars is a high energy planet that involves aggression, lust, and moving forward. So when it goes retrograde, here are a few things you can expect:

  • A lack of desire to face things heads on
  • Anger that is more of a slow burn and held inwardly rather than expressed
  • A re-evaluation of sexual relationships

Yeah you read that last portion right. If you are not in a sexual relationship now, pushing forward ot physical intimacy during Mars retro may be satisfying in the short term, but long term it usually does not amount to anything. But the Mars retrograde energy is pretty wild overall, so if you're looking to get your freak on, Mars retrograde might be the time to let it all hang out.

Anyway, you have been warned, gentle readers. Hopefully Merc retro is treating you well. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Misfortune Teller: The Five of Wands

In the minor arcana, there are quite a number of cards that you don't want to see come up, and four of them are fives. They all suck in their own particular way. 

However, the five of Wands sucks the least of the group so we'll start with the best for a change.

On the RWS Five of Wands, five people are going after each other with sticks. I coached middle school lacrosse for a while, and I can tell you that you never know what's going to happen when you give people sticks and let them have at it. This is especially true if they're boys going into puberty, by the way, in case you were wondering. :)

When you get this five, you can expect that there's going to be competition of some kind. I've seen it in all realms, but here are a few examples:
  • Being romantically interested in a person who has a lot of people vying for their heart, or you have a number of "suitors" yourself
  • Trying to get more resources in the workplace--money, people, prestige, etc. 
  • Applying for jobs--I've received this card for many people as they go out and look for work. The competition is very stiff these days with the economy like it is. You have to go in prepared to fight for a job.
  • Having many different things compete for your attention, time or money--These are the 5 small bills you're trying to pay, the children calling your name constantly, or the people who keep trying to interrupt you during PTA meetings. On the flip side, you might be one of a few people trying to get the attention of your boss, your best friend, or someone else in your life. 
Some things in life you have to fight for, but the Five of Wands doesn't discriminate, so don't be afraid to walk out of the competition. 

This particular five is more of an annoyance more than anything else. You have these days when nothing seems to go exactly right, and you go from one small frustration to the next. You wake up 10 minutes late, spill coffee on yourself, realize you have to stop on your way to the office to get gas, and end up five minutes late for an important meeting. Usually, this Five is nothing horrific, but a series of small annoyances that can really piss you off if you let it.
I also often see "generalized chaos" in this card, usually marked by poor communication when everyone is trying to talk and no one is listening, or when groups all want to go in different directions. Head High Priestess Samantha Harvey will often tell students to "focus, people!" whenever they start to get off track, and that's a good message for anyone who receives the Five of Wand Another way of saying it is "herding cats" may have to bring people's attention back to the here and now. 

When I lived overseas, they told us "expect one annoying thing to happen per day." I thought that was a great rule and it helped me be more understanding when I was trying to go off to "war" instead of "the train station" for example. When this card shows up, no, things are not going to go smoothly, and likely there will be some generalized fuckery and chaos along the way. So prepare to be annoyed.

In the case of human interactions, I often see this card come up as "opinions are like assholes and everybody's got one." So people may be bringing you their unsolicited opinions on whatever happens to be important to you. It's up to you to stop that by (nicely) explaining to them that they can keep their opinions to themselves, or at least where you can't hear them.

One other example I can use is that of an email exchange. A Five of Wands email would be you sending out an email to two people for their opinion. One replies to you and copies five other people, and then everyone starts giving their opinion. Eventually, chaos ensues as people reply to each other and it becomes one big circle of fuckery that you eventually decide to leave, sorry that you had even asked.

Luckily, for those competing as I mentioned above, usually everyone is staying friendly, civil, and cordial during the fight, but people being who they are I expect people to be fighting hard, even if you're not as invested in what they want to fight about as they are.

To deal best with this card, take a step back and re-focus your efforts, especially your time and energy. Prioritize and act swiftly to the extent that you can, and shut down arguments that are meaningless.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Saturn vs. Neptune: Evolution or Devolution?

Saturn: Hello, Neptune. How have you been? Thanks for not returning my calls. At least you texted me to tell me you were "coming in hot", whatever that means. 

Neptune: I see you've still got a stick up your ass, old man. But as to your question, I'm doing very well. I'm surprised you had some time for me...I know how busy you are right now.

Saturn: Well, I am busy. I mean...Ukraine alone will be a horrific mess to clean up and may be even worse than the whole breakup of Ma Bell.

Neptune: You know that like seven people will know what you're talking about with that sentence, right? Ma Bell?  Or phones that are attached to WALLS? Or plastic discs with needles that played music? 
It may as well be Saturnalia for younger people.

Saturn: Well that article back in December brought Saturnalia back into the public eye, so we'll see if people start it up again. I wouldn't hate it. But I'm seeing you for another reason.

Neptune: Oh? Let me guess: John's doing something you don't like? No...don't tell me...he's answering all of your messages in haikus or something? I mean, it is Mercury retrograde and all...

Saturn: You are humorous as ever. But let's be serious. And to get you sit here and listen to me I've done something I never do.

Neptune: Smile? Laugh? Allow chaos? I know, it's right on the tip of my tongue...[chuckles]

Saturn: [turning around with a bottle in his hand]. I bought alcohol for you to consume while you're here.

Neptune: Let me see! [looks at bottle carefully] You didn't cheap out on me, either! What's the catch?

Saturn: No catch. Would you like a glass, Great Deceiver?

Neptune: [looks at Saturn seriously] Uh oh...he's throwing out titles, ladies and gentlemen. This can't be good. It's gotta be worse than haikus. Maybe he's decided to write in iambic pentameter? [Pause] Don't leave me hanging, Old Man. If you're going to offer me some hospitality, a glass would be good. I can open this thing up by myself. [wrenches bottle open] So? You want me to listen? Then talk to me.

Saturn: [walks over and hands Neptune a highball glass] 
I figured out why they call you "Great Deceiver", Neptune. You pulled a fast one on me when it comes to John. When you first told me about helping him get out from under my influence, you said that eventually he'd come back to me.

Neptune: Sure, Saturn. I did. And he has. The man edits like a fiend, and he's as reliable and responsible as he's always been. And he got another title, that of Godfather, a few months back, and I would have thought that would make you elated! So what's the problem?

Saturn: THE PROBLEM?? HE'S NEVER GOING TO BE LIKE HE WAS!! You didn't tell me that part. He didn't come back as John! He came back as...somebody else!

Neptune: You're really upset that one of your people is more balanced?

Saturn: I liked him the way he was! He and I were close. And now we're not. He takes time to do fun things at least once a day, sometimes more often. He's more creative and expressive than he was. And I still don't see those as benefits.

Neptune: [shakes head] You 
still don't get it, even after all this time. I don't think I'm going to be able to explain it in a way you'll understand. You're like a child who has lost his toy. It's weird telling the Old Man of the astrological world to grow the fuck up, but if the shoe fits...

Saturn: [Pause] I think you should leave now, Neptune. 
Inviting you over was clearly a mistake.

Neptune: I'm sorry, Saturn. Really. [walks toward door with bottle in hand]. 
I can be a good listener, but it sounds like you need more than that. Maybe you ought to talk to Pluto. He's John's sun sign ruler. If anyone can put this in perspective for you, he can. Good night. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Meredith's Travel Fuckery and Mercury Retrograde

A longtime reader of this blog, Meredith, has experienced an incredible amount of travel fuckery today and has graciously offered to share it with us. 

Here's the scoop: Meredith was scheduled to depart from Dulles Airport here in Northern Virginia last Thursday on a flight to Denver for a much-needed vacation and to visit relatives. Her flight was cancelled due to the 14 inches of snow that we received here. She and her husband were re-scheduled on a flight out of Dulles tonight. 

Mercury struck hard tonight, folks. When they arrived at the airport, they found out the flight to Denver had been overbooked, so they were bumped onto another flight. This one, however, was leaving tomorrow morning out of Baltimore Washington International Airport, at least an hour away from Dulles. So the airline arranged for a shuttle ride to the new airport, hotel, and dinner for them this evening. 

Unfortunately, due to computer problems printing the vouchers--the agent had to call corporate as well for assistance--it took 90 minutes to get all the paperwork in the travelers' hands. At this point you're thinking, "All's well that ends well", right?

Well, the agent couldn't print all of the vouchers at his station. Baggage claim had to print the others, including the one for the "private shuttle" that they were supposed to get. Of course, the voucher they received is for a "shared shuttle" to their destination. So they climb aboard their shared vehicle and head off to BWI. Strike two. 

But the story doesn't end there. Because it's a shared ride, there's more than just Meredith and her husband. The driver takes another passenger to the wrong hotel, and then the vehicle's GPS stops working. Strike three. At this point, Meredith is getting tired of this crap. 

I am thrilled to report that after a long and annoying journey, Meredith and her husband are safe at their hotel, hopefully enjoying dinner before their short night of rest; their flight leaves at 6:00am so they'll have to be up seriously early. 

The one benefit is that Mercury fuckery at least paid off this time. The couple received $1500 in flight vouchers, enough to cover a future trip to Denver.

Thanks for sharing, Meredith! Here's to hoping Mercury leaves you alone for the rest of the retrograde! :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mercury Retrogade: Groundhog Day?

OK, so I've noticed that sometimes the "re-" in retrograde comes true for me in the sense of "re-peated" stuff like the movie "Groundhog Day". 

In this case, I was in the gym and they have a cardio theatre where they play a movie while you work out. The movie they were showing today, "Find Me Guilty" with Vin Diesel, is one I haven't yet seen, except for a piece of it one time in THIS VERY ROOM three weeks ago. 

OK, so the fact that they're showing the same movie as a few weeks ago is pretty bizarre in and of itself. But I saw the SAME portion of the movie I did before...about 10% of it was new to me but the rest of it was the same! Talk about weird. I need to go track down the whole looks funny to me!

Lots of misinformation at work, too. "Is the person retiring/leaving/transferring or not?" is the question of the hour involving at least four colleagues, and the answer changes for most of them at least once every few days. 

Anyway, just checking in to see how your Mercury retrograde is going. I had one other interesting tidbit to report: I had a client make a tarot appointment and cancel it in under 18 hours. 

Otherwise my Mercury retrograde is not bad. How has yours been? Comment and tell me!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mars vs. Venus: A Surprise Visit!

Venus: Hello, Mars! Surprised to see me?

Mars: I am, Venus. [holds open the door] I'm surprised to see you here today!

Venus: I've been doing a lot of thinking, Mars. That always happens when I go retrograde. Could you move the basketball? I'd like to sit down...

Mars: Sure! [grabs ball and throws it in the corner] Yeah, I hear you. When I go retrograde I always feel like I' know...

Venus: On your "man period"?

Mars: Well, I didn't want to say that, but yeah. Makes me feel like an asshole. Can't get anything done, my workouts suck, nothing tastes right, and my sex drive goes to hell. I'm not looking forward to March, I'll tell you that.

Venus: Mars...come on now. You didn't "want" to say something? That might almost pass as politeness.

Mars: The reason I don't do it more is because of shitty remarks like that last one.

Venus: I'm sorry to hurt your feelings. And that's one of the reasons I came today. I feel like last Valentine's Day I was in a very different place than I am now. Right after my retrograde, Valentine's Day just isn't the same.

Mars: I feel the same way. I was riding the bitter train last year and taking out my pissiness on you. That didn't help.

Venus: I wasn't an altogether good listener, either, as I recall. You asked me for compassion for so many people who may be alone and I didn't even know what to think. I guess...and I say this in the nicest way possible...I didn't expect you to have a heart.

Mars: Compassion is not the easiest thing in the world for me, mighty Aphrodite. But I do have one. I like it best when it's going 140 beats a minute in a spinning class, or on the basketball court, or in the sack...

Venus: Yes, I understand. I was trying to pay you a compliment.

Mars: Well, thank you. You're very kind. But then again, you are Venus.

Venus: I am. And being in retrograde made me think that I need to re-evaluate some relationships, too. I don't like that we don't see each other that much, and I was really catty last year about your "bachelor pad" so I decided to come see you this year.

Mars: That's very kind of you. [Looks down] What, no "beer shoes"? Those look like ordinary sneakers.

Venus: [Laughs] Apparently I don't need them. Who would have thought?

Mars: I have a cleaning service that comes once a week and doesn't steal shit, so the downstairs looks nice. But the upstairs is totally shot, so I apologize you won't get the full tour today. If I had known you were coming...

Venus: Not a problem. You're taking me out anyway.

Mars: I am?

Venus: Sure you are.

Mars: But you're not really dressed up today. Don't get me wrong; you're always totally adorable, but nothing frilly and pink for V-Day?

Venus: Nope, I'm not feeling that today. You've got pensive, thoughtful, loving Venus today, so I decided on a nice teal sweater and a pair of jeans. Think you can get us into your favorite steak house?

Mars: Yeah, I think I can throw my weight around a little. It's just unusual seeing you dressed that way. You sure you're not wearing anything red?

Venus: Well, if you decide to treat me like a lady, when we get back after dinner, maybe you'll find out what I'm wearing that's red. [winks]

Mars: [Smiles] Allrighty then. I'll make some calls. [heads upstairs]

Venus: And while you're up there, maybe you can freshen up your bedroom for, say, an overnight guest?

Mars: [stops on stairs] Sounds great! Give me like 30 minutes then. My cell has been on the fritz with Mercury in fucking retrograde again.

Venus: I'll be here. And don't go all out up there, either...just throw the sports equipment, porn, and video game console in the closet, and put on some fresh sheets and that will work for me, Mars.

Mars: [whispers as he throws porn in closet] Dude, this Valentine's Day is gonna be AWESOME! I better cancel my squash game with Saturn,'s to hoping I won't make it. Early-rising bastard.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mercury Retrograde: The Fuckery Continues

So far I've been keeping track of recent Mercury retrograde incidents in my own life, and here's what I've got:

Impromptu meetings called: 1
Phone restarted without warning: 1
Classes cancelled because of communication failure: 1
Phone calls dropped: 2
XM radio losing signal: 3
Voicemail passwords reset: 1
Apps restarted: 4

I haven't noticed any huge screwups on the communications side of things regarding the Olympics, which is a good thing, but I am glad Bob Costas is taking a break. Looking at his infected eye while he was talking was totally distracting. Just sayin'. And then all I want to do was make bad eye jokes. Just ask Jen about when she had her Lasik surgery a few years back; I made them for MONTHS. Examples, you ask? Certainly. I'd answer questions with "The ayes have it!" and sing "I Only Have Eyes For You". Those are two of the better ones.

With a huge winter storm headed our way here in Northern VA, I keep checking the Internet to see if the forecasts have been changing. The information appears to be updated successfully each time. Just what we need is a communication problem NOW. Hopefully Mercury will leave that shit alone. So far so good.

In the meantime here are two photos of my Mercury Retrograde mug. I know you're jealous! (Thanks Liz!)

Let me know how you're doing! :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

When Excuses Attack and the Snapshot in Time

So I heard someone say the other day that a person "must be an asshole because all Aries are assholes!" I was really unhappy and confronted the person about the statement.
This is what can happen when someone takes a little bit of knowledge in the metaphysical and extrapolates it out way too far. Unfortunately, I've seen it happen more than once. 

Let's talk about astrology for a moment. Your astrological makeup is a snapshot in time, that specific date, place, and hour of your birth. Studying it can be very revealing, and the same is true for looking at your solar return every year, and the astrological influences that surround various events. 

Tarot is the same way. It's an amazing tool that I love and can be very insightful, but it too is a snapshot in time. I can tell you what I see today and what will happen if nothing changes. But I can't tell you how you're going to change; that's free will, and no one can take that away from you. 

One client came into the shop to shout at me about a reading I had done for her one or two months prior. "YOU WERE WRONG ABOUT ME FINDING SOMEONE!" she yelled in a room filled with people. While I have no evidence to present on the topic, I'm betting that since I had read for that individual, something had changed. Might it have been pure circumstance? Yes. But I'm thinking it also could have been the attitude of my client that might have discouraged the would-be romance.

Here's an example. If I get a tarot reading about an upcoming party I've been invited to, and the tarot says "Don't go!", I have a number of different choices. I can choose to stay home, or I can choose to do something completely different, or I can choose to go to the party and ignore the tarot's message. That's up to me. 

So let's stretch it out further. I ignore the message and go to the party and I see an ex there who I don't particularly like. This may have been why the tarot said I shouldn't go, but once again, I have choices. I can spend a little time and then leave without engaging her, I can ignore her, I can try to make small talk, or I can be nasty to her and give her the greasy eyeball across the room. But all those choices are mine. Hopefully your tarot reader is out enjoying a party of his own, or at home writing an awesome blog, for example. 
He bears no responsibility for my actions, nor should he.

Astrology is the same thing. Your astrological sign doesn't give you the right to act any particular way. Sure, books say a lot of things about the different astrological signs, but I've met slow Aries people, fast Tauruses, reliable Geminis, Cancers who don't want kids, humble Leos, disorganized Virgos, single Libras, Scorpios with no sex drive, Sagittarius leaders, broke Capricorns, emotional Aquarians, and one or two realistic Pisces people. 

Lowest common denominator astrology is ineffective and results in some pretty bad stereotyping like I described in the first paragraph.

Here's the bottom line: Don't blame astrology, the tarot, or any other metaphysical tool for problems in your life. At the end of the day, these tools will help you cope, reveal strengths and weaknesses, and give insight into conditions that exist at a given moment in time, that snapshot I was talking about earlier. But none of it will take the place of the choice of a human being, and no person should define themselves by any one particular trait they have seen in themselves.

There are so many things you can't change in life. In genetics, you can't change who your parents are. In astrology, you can't change the moment you were born. With the tarot, you can't change the message you receive. But what can you change? Yourself. And to do that, the excuses need to hit the road. 

In the end, use the metaphysical to find out more about yourself and enhance the life you life through your own choices. Using any metaphysical tool, device, or technique as an excuse is just plain immature, even if that excuse is Mercury retrograde. 

[OK, maybe we can make a small exception for Mercury retrograde. But before you start that computer upgrade during it, make sure you remember that this was your bright idea. LOL.]

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mercury Retrograde Fuckery in Action at Starbuck's and the Olympics

OK, so I saw some more Mercury retrograde fuckery in action at my local Starbuck's this morning. 

Let me state for the record that these folks are usually right on the money. They deal well with crowds and orders are usually flying out the door. 

So this morning I walk in and there's the counter, but what's different is that there's no line of people waiting to be helped. They're all down at the far end waiting for coffee. I thought that was odd from the beginning. So I walk up to place my order and there are five employees behind the counter. Not one of them even turns in my direction for over two minutes.

Behind the counter they're like zombies. They're not sure what's going on, what's been done, and what they're supposed to be doing next. Most of the time when you see this kind of behavior, it's crazy busy and they're just trying to push out orders, which as I said, normally they do well at. But something was clearly off this morning; because they were moving so slowly, I wondered if they had all shared a joint a few minutes prior.

This is Mercury retrograde in Pisces. It's like everything is in a dream. Reality is questioned and people struggle with communicating the practical. 

So I place my order, and the cashier is struggling to press the right buttons, and he's been there a while. Then he turns to tell one of his colleagues to warm up my sandwich, and he rattles off the food order. She doesn't repeat it back right away. The second employee is also a veteran, and she struggles with it, but she repeats it back correctly. The cashier had my drink cups with the orders written on them, and he told the manager who was finishing up the drink orders, "I have two cups for you and they're over here!", pointing to the countertop near him but further than usual from the other orders. The manager didn't respond at all. 

To be sure they didn't lose track of my food, I stuck around so the lady could see me and hand them off to me before doing something else. I pull up a spot on the wall to wait. And that's when it got more bizarre. 

There had been five employees behind the counter, but after a few minutes of looking at my phone, I noticed that there was only one back there working on drinks. One was out talking to customers, one was stocking lids, and the other two, including manager, were nowhere to be found. At this point I'm wondering what the fuck is going on. You're going to stock lids and supplies during breakfast rush? There were sleeves of lids just sitting on the countertops. I'm not sure how long they had been sitting there, but logically that just didn't make sense. 

So ten minutes later and this lady comes up next to me. I tell her to be prepared to wait a while and she commented that it was like the employees were moving in slow motion. I agreed. The manager had returned to his station and one of my drinks came out. I went over to pick it up, and asked if the other one was someplace in the pipeline. It's more like a coffee conveyor belt, but whatever. The guy doesn't even answer me, which surprised me because I've dealt with him before and he's definitely efficient and effective. Generally he holds everything together when it's busy. 

After ten seconds of waiting I figure I'm not getting an answer and go back to the wall. Less than a minute later my other drink comes up. You couldn't have just said, "Yes, it's coming," or something? What the fuck...?

Not wanting to tempt Mercury further, I beat feet to my car and head out the door. 

I hope this retrograde isn't as bad as I think it could be, folks. And someone scheduled the Winter Olympics during a Mercury retrograde! LOVE IT! That's about as smart as having a presidential election during one. Oh wait...

If you were watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics last night, there was one major failure when the one ring didn't work as expected. And if you listened closely to the message from the Olympic Committee Chairman, the subtext of his message, which was about as subtle as a hammer to the head, was basically, "If you have a problem with Russia's stance on homosexuals or anything else, put it aside because the Olympics aren't about that."

The Mercury retro part of that message wasn't just the lack of subtlety in the message, but that they kept using "diversity"! All I could think of was "I guess they mean 'national' diversity, because they certainly don't mean homosexuality!" And of course they also said "tolerance", which was a complete joke, since Russia seems like a pretty intolerant place, and their leader seems to be an intolerant fuck. But that's just me. 

Intolerant fuck or not, Putin was at least smart to keep his remarks short and to the point; Mercury could've had a field day with him. 

Let me know how you're faring, good people! Good luck at Starbuck's and anyplace else you travel. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mercury Retrograde Fuckery Update: Day 1

So we're just over four hours into Mercury Retrograde, and I've already got some interesting reports coming in. With the understanding that some of this stuff is going to be from the "storm", that pre-retrograde period when Mercury is slowing down, I'm already hearing some fucked-up shit.

One area we really haven't touched on is Merc retrograde causing paperwork problems of all kinds. The situation below is a classic example of Merc retro in action with paperwork. 

  • A close friend was supposed to retire earlier this week from the Federal Government after more than 25 years of service. Everything looked pretty good until this past week, when everything started to go to shit. There's too much fuckery on this topic to list, but the latest entry is that the government was prepared to retire him out without making sure he was eligible to continue to have health insurance. My friend found this out last Friday, so he decided that he's not actually going to retire until after Mercury goes direct.

Two other friends found Mercury retrograde effects during the storm yesterday in a meeting, so we'll file that under interpersonal communications fuckery:

  • At a work meeting with their supervisor, they found out that they did not understand the supervisor's vision. He also did not understand or appreciate their opinions, and as such he (the supervisor) would be telling them what the vision is without their input. He also said they would be asked to add to their already copious workload because of another underperforming team in the same department. This all came without warning, and the supervisor was nasty during the meeting. 
What makes this one even more interesting is that the supervisor came in today and was in a great mood, trying to play off the bad feelings from the day before. Such a radical change in communication style and content is another Merc retro hallmark. What I said to one of them was "Merc retro isn't going to turn this guy into a dick, but it's going to make it harder than usual for you to communicate with him."

In the category of telecommunications fuckery we have this example:
  • Students at a pottery class must call the school during non-class hours if they would like to use the studio to ensure there is adequate supervision. The students received an email yesterday that the phone lines at the school are down, and there is no estimate on when they will be repaired. There was no alternative contact information for students to use to request studio time, either. 

Finally, take special note: If you're going away for a romantic getaway or romantic dinner this Valentine's Day, triple check your reservations and expect problems. If you haven't reserved by now, honestly, I'd suggest an activity that doesn't involve a reservation. There's the potential for real reservation and travel fuckery this year on Valentine's Day. I've already heard from one couple who had to cancel reservations for that weekend, and that was earlier today. 

Bottom line: It's already started, folks. I hope this isn't a harbinger of things to come. But please re-read that last paragraph and verify everything Valentine-related, including flowers or other gifts you ordered to arrive on that day. Can you imagine what the online and local florist shops are going to be like with Merc retro on this holiday? I can, and it has the potential to be brutal. 

Holy living fuck. 

I think that's about all for now. Feel free to write in and share the fuckery.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fulsome February Fuckery: Mercury Retrograde Scoring Sheet and Drinking Game!

Hello everyone...

With Mercury retrograde upon us again, I was thinking that maybe there was a way I could make it more fun and interesting. With the understanding that when I start thinking we can't really be sure what's going to emerge from my fevered brain, I thought this idea had some merit.

Lots of people say "My Mercury retrograde was really bad!" but I wondered if there was a way to quantify just how bad or bearable Merc retro is for each individual person. And what you see below is what I came up with. 

I put together a list of common Merc retrograde problems in various categories and gave each one a point value. You'll find the list below. Here's how to play:

  • Beginning tomorrow (Thursday) at 4:43pm EST, start keeping track of the problems you have, and the number of points you accrue in a given day. 
  • Keep tracking it for the entire month of February, through the evening of February 28. We'll still be in the storm then so we'll still be kind of retrograding at that time, and it's easier to just say through the end of the month. 
  • Total the points and let me know how you did! What was your worst day/week? What was your final total for the month? 

General Network Problems
Cell phone service interrupted for more than one hour (from service provider)
Internet service interrupted for more than one hour (from service provider)
Home or office wired or Wi-Fi network goes down due to circumstances beyond your control
1, and 1 for each hour out
Home or office network speed reduced by 50% due to circumstances beyond your control
1, and 1 for each hour slow
Cell Phone problems

Voice mail received more than 6 hours after being left
1 / 6 hours
Voice mail left never received by another person, or you never receive a voicemail left for you
Text message does not send due to network problems
1 per message and per attempt to send
Autocorrect fail—wrong word sent to other party or received by you
Dropped call
Not understanding what a person is saying due to hardware, software, or network problem (phone restarts, voice breaks up, etc.)
Call made or received goes right to voicemail without ringing when other party was available
Cell phone needs to be restarted/rebooted due to crash or improper operation
Computer Hardware and Software

Program/application on any device crashes needs to be closed and restarted
Computer or tablet freezes or crashes
Hard drive, CD-ROM drive or other computer peripheral (mouse, etc.) dies and must be replaced; in other words, it no longer works
Any problem using videoconferencing—delay of sound or freezing screen for more than 3 seconds, crashing, etc.
Email Problems

Email received more than 6 hours after being sent by you or another
1 / every 6 hours delay
Email sent but never received by other person due to network problems, or you never receive an email that was sent to you
Sending an email to an incorrect address, or having an email returned
Meetings, Appointments, and Travel
Meeting or appointment delayed more than 15 minutes
1 per 15 minutes of delay
Meeting / appointment cancelled at the last minute—less than three hours’ notice
Meeting / appointment location or significant details (like agenda or attendees) changed with less than three hours’ notice
Meeting / appointment cancelled with less than one day’s notice
Meeting / appointment location or significant details (like agenda or attendees) changed with less than one day’s notice
Last-minute significant change to travel plans (change of dates, hotel, airline, etc.)
Personal and Interpersonal Communication and Memory

Promise made verbally or in writing not fulfilled
(Example: Cable company says they will contact you and they do not)
No-show: Showing up at an appointment and you or the other person is a no-show or cancels as it is supposed to begin, due to unforeseen circumstances (like a family emergency) or just forgetting (like wondering where a child is when they’re waiting to be picked up at school)
Providing or receiving faulty or incomplete information verbally or in writing unintentionally (example: giving someone a work phone number instead of a cell phone)
Any instance of completely and totally forgetting something and not remembering for more than one minute
Forgetting why you entered a room or went to a place for more than 5 seconds
Going to the incorrect location or realizing you’re going to the wrong place (usual places only; not getting lost going to an unfamiliar/new place)
Completely forgetting what you were about to say / losing train of thought for more than 3 seconds
Not understanding what a person is saying because the communication is inaudible because of other noise in the area (example: asking someone to re-state something because others in the area are talking)
Misunderstanding by you or someone else of a written or verbal communication exchange (example: an email or conversation that is confusing enough that you must ask to clarify)

That's the game, folks. I hope this makes you more aware of Merc retro's effects in your day to day life and allows you to have a little fun while dealing with the fuckery. 

I expect to hear from you to let me know if I've missed anything on the point system and how your month is going. 

If you drink alcohol, this also makes a great drinking game. I suggest one drink for every seven points. Depending on how bad your day was, you way want to consider lowering it to one drink for every five points. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mercury Retrograde: February Fuckery!


We're already in the "storm" of the next Mercury retrograde, which begins officially on Thursday, Feburary 6, and goes through February 27.

You know the drill, folks. But if you don't, here are some reminders. 

Some of the standard Mercury retrograde fuckery may include:
  • Missed emails, text messages, or voicemails
  • Miscommunication of all kinds between people
  • Problems with paperwork--lost, misplaced, re-routed, etc.
  • Unexpected delays or cancellations of meetings or get-togethers
  • Computer problems of any and all stripes but usually minor ones
  • People being late or not showing up at all
Some of your standard coping strategies include:
  • Back up all computer data regularly
  • Check all travel plans--hotels, airlines, car rentals, etc.--before you leave on any trips
  • Confirm that meetings are taking place 
  • Try NOT to sign anything during this period--lease, job offer, etc.--if you can help it. If you can't wait, read the fine print TWICE on every document you sign and confirm understanding
  • Ensure your messages are being sent and received
  • Don't start new projects; "new" things that are started now usually have to be re-done
  • Finish up old projects and tie up loose ends
  • Edit--this is a GREAT time for editing manuscripts and documents!
  • Be understanding of others' problems communicating or showing up late or not at all; likely it is not their fault
  • Speak carefully
Overall, please be extremely careful about communicating because there is a strong potential for misunderstandings. Simply and clearly is the way to go.

Also, if you are traveling, be extra careful and allow extra time. Don't text and drive and minimize all cell phone communications if you are driving. And expect dropped calls and technical difficulties. I suggest having a backup plan that doesn't include technology, like printed directions, for example. 

If you haven't backed up your data--hard drives, cell phones, tablets, etc.--do it right now. Don't wait another moment. 

With Mercury retrograding through Pisces, you may find yourself less likely to talk than usual and in a more dreamy, passive state. In the last two weeks, Mercury will arrive back at Aquarius, and at that point be very careful of how and where you are expressing your personal opinions. Think of other human beings as you do so to make sure you're not misunderstood. 

Good luck! If you have any fantastic or horrific Merc retro stories, I'm happy to listen... :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Letters from Neptune: Inner Monologue on Spinning Class

Dear Mars,

As the astrological planetary representative of all things sporty, I wanted to take the opportunity to send along this missive. John's been taking spin classes for some time now, and while he freely admits he'd rather be at a bar riding with me than at the gym with you, I've noticed that his inner monologue when he is at spin class is quite fascinating. 

As I recall, you are the almuten--owner of the most real estate--of John's astrological chart. So I send this information to you in the hopes that you might better understand him and work with him, and your other people, of course, more effectively. Here are the notes from John's last spin class, with the corresponding activities happening outside of John's head. 

John’s Inner Monologue
30 minutes before class
John getting his bike
“I’m leaving my stuff here, including my spin pass. You other bitches better leave it alone. Don't even think about taking my spin pass or my bike or I will cut you!”
25 minutes before class
John filling his water bottle
“Why do I bother? I’m usually breathing so heavily I can’t drink anyway.”
15 minutes before class
John mounts bike and starts to warm up with no resistance on bike.
“Just make it through. Just make it through. No leaving early. No giving up. And you two bitches back there better shut the fuck up when we start class for real. I don’t want to hear about your slutty friend the entire way through class. REALLY. Most normal people just go for coffee to gossip about their friends!”
Class begins
Instructor: “Allright everyone. It is time to ride.”
“Shit. Here we go. Do they make spin bikes for fat people? I wish they did. I think I can still feel my ass for the moment. That won’t last long. But I’m not breaking down and buying one of those seat pads. NO WAY! Too stubborn for that.”
5 minutes into class
Instructor: “OK. That’s it for our warmup. We’re going to ease into this ride with some sprints followed by light hills.”
“I know that was just the warmup but a big part of me wants to get off this bike. And we’re supposed to match the instructor’s leg speed? SURE WE ARE. Lady, put down your damn iPhone. Fucking really! The text can wait.”
15 minutes into class
Instructor: “Good job! Towel off, drink up, set your intensity to open road.”
“Let me try to drink something. Just a sip. OK, that was thoroughly unsatisfying. Yes, my heart rate is up, shitbag, you and your muscular thighs and your flat stomach. Maybe I’ll drink more when I catch my breath, assuming my heart is still beating. And what’s the point of toweling off when I just keep sweating? Oh yeah, so I can SEE!”
16 minutes into class
Instructor: “Time for 80% leg speed. SPRINT!”
“If I could unlock my spin shoes quickly enough I’d be sprinting for the door, you prick. You’re going to settle for ‘as fast as I can pedal in my current state of fitness'.”
30 minutes into class
Instructor: “Now it’s time to do some mountain climbing. Set your intensity at 8 out of 10. Remember, you're not here for me. I'm already in better shape than you!”
“Fuck the mountain. There had better be a six-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade at the top for all this work. And is it possible to die from drowning in your own sweat? Stay tuned...we may just find out.”
45 minutes into class
Instructor: “OK, this is the final stretch. We’re going to do light hills interspersed with sprints, with a 2 minute sprint at the end. COME ON! Let’s DO IT!”
“OH HELL NO. Dude, we have so had enough. The next time I have a chat with Mars I am going to let him have it, that sonofabitch and his ‘let’s all be fit” attitude!  Fine…this wheel is 60 pounds and doesn’t stop on a dime so I guess I’ll keep pedaling.”
Class ends after 55 minutes
Instructor“Good job, everyone!”
“I AM A GOD! I am clearly superior to those who left after 15 minutes. Here we go again where everyone starts talking…I’m trying to stretch here, so how about some peace and quiet? Now I can have an excuse to collapse at my desk at work in a few hours. But I am STILL A GOD!”

Anyway, I hope you found these remarks insightful. As you can tell, John is looking forward to his next spinning class. 



PS: Hope you're getting ready for your annual date with lady Venus. Since she's been in retrograde I certainly hope she won't be a pill this year.