Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stars don't lie, charts do

Weird day. As I was making breakfast, I heard a loud bang like a gunshot or explosion nearby, then I noticed the air conditioner (a window unit in the bedroom next door to the kitchen) had stopped running. My first thought was that the AC had fallen to the ground three stories below. I rushed into the bedroom, where John was still sleeping, and saw that the electricity had gone out. (I didn't notice right away since it was broad daylight.) Seconds later I heard my phone receive a text message, which was odd because I don't usually get texts at 7 in the morning. It was my manager, alerting us that the power in our building was out, so we should stay home. That made me wonder if the whole city of Boston was without power, but then wherefore the explosion?

I'd been just about to put my breakfast in the microwave when all this happened. It wasn't suitable to eat cold so I had to scrape it into a pan and heat it up on the stove, which I lit with a match, like back in colonial times, since our pilot lights are apparently electric though the stove is gas. I was reading Howards End on the couch when someone came out to do some work on the power box across the street about an hour later. (I realized last night I've been picturing Helena Bonham-Carter in the role actually played by Emma Thompson.) Our power came back, so I didn't have to worry about our food rotting, etc., and I was able to Google-determine that the heat wave has caused multiple power outages across the region. The power in my office building was out all day, so I stayed home and sweated. Sweat. Sweat doesn't take an -ed?

I've been working, when I can find time, on a more essayistic essay version of the "Moves in Contemporary Poetry" thing from a while back, for submission to a poetics anthology. (Instead of just a list with examples, there's a little subessay on each move, though I won't cover every one.) For some reason I'm writing it in this ironic faux lit-crit tone. Not sure if that will survive the final draft. If not, it'll be interesting to see how much I'll have to change to convert it to my normal writing voice. Probably not that much.

Today on Twitter, Jessica asked me what my moon sign is. I had no idea, so I got my full astro chart done on this free site. (You only need to supply your date, time, and place of birth.) Now, I don't really believe in astrology (sorry Jessica), but I've always been told I'm a classic Scorpio, and this shit sounds EXACTLY LIKE ME:
Intense and complex by nature, you have extremely strong emotional reactions to most situations. Feelings are often very difficult for you to verbalize. Therefore you have a tendency to be very quiet -- to brood and think a lot. You seldom get overtly angry, but, when you do, you are furious and unforgiving. When you make an emotional commitment, it is total -- you are not attracted to superficial or casual relationships. If you are challenged, you take it as a personal affront and tend to lash out and fight back in a vengeful manner...

When you feel self-confident, you are gentle, giving and protective of the needs of others. But when you feel insecure or threatened, you become overly sensitive to criticism, shy, withdrawn and moody. You have a strong need for security -- in the sense that you are being loved, nourished and protected...

High-spirited and courageous, you are a fighter when your emotions are aroused. You have hair-trigger reactions to specific stimuli and tend to "let it all hang out." You sometimes act before you think and do things on the spur of the moment, and that sometimes gets you into trouble. Your moods change quickly -- you have quite a temper, but you don't hold grudges. Very independent, with an extremely strong and forceful personality...

Your mind is very curious and inquisitive, always seeking information on a wide variety of topics. The broader the subject matter (philosophy, science, religion, metaphysics), the more it will appeal to you. You prefer to deal with abstractions -- the small but important details associated with any subject tend to slip your grasp. [Well, I used to be a copyeditor, so not really.] You are known for being blunt, honest and truthful...

You are a very proud person. Strong, bold, courageous and self-possessed, you love to be the one to initiate significant actions. When people expect a lot of you, you respond positively and will work hard in order to maintain their respect. But when your dignity or pride is threatened, you tend to become sarcastic, arrogant and domineering. Try not to take any challenge or resistance that you meet as a personal affront. You are very stubborn about your right to live your life according to your own principles...
This shit, on the other hand, not so much:
Very sensitive by nature, you prefer to be in your own familiar surroundings. Cautious and conservative, you make changes in your life only very slowly, if at all. Friendships are made for life -- once given, your trust is forever. You are also very sentimental...

You are known for being impulsive, careless, reckless, foolhardy, rash and daring...

When you like someone, you do so totally and obsessively; if you do not like someone, they do not exist. Your faithfulness and loyalty to your lover is unquestioned, indeed at times it is too much so -- you get so possessive that you almost smother your partner. At times, your feelings are kept deep within you and, because they are so complex and intense, they frighten you -- this is the way that you try to ignore them. But the more you try to do this, the more explosive things get when you eventually do express them...

You enjoy being dutiful and carrying out responsibilities. You gladly take on the little tasks that others seem to want to avoid. At times, you carry things to extremes and feel guilty anytime you do something that you consider to be self-indulgent. While it is appropriate for you to demand little for yourself in life, try to loosen up once in a while -- go out on a fling and enjoy yourself!

Doing useful, practical things boosts your self-esteem. Abstract concepts and reasoning seem frivolous and a waste of time to you...
I guess that's usually how astrology works, huh? About half-right, half-wrong? Or do I just not see myself?


  1. So what is your moon sign? And while we're at it -- what's your rising (ascendent)?

    Sun: Capricorn
    Rising: Gemini
    Moon: Virgo

  2. Elisa, we can never be married.

    I'm sorry.

  3. I was more holding out for passionate affair, anyway.

  4. see, a lot of that sounds like it could be me, even though i'm an aquarius. which just shows how easy it is to see yourself in whatever vague characteristics someone tells you you have, if you're susceptible to superstition.

  5. the first three paragraphs, totally.

    then this: "Very sensitive by nature, you prefer to be in your own familiar surroundings. Cautious and conservative, you make changes in your life only very slowly, if at all."

    (but not this, which seems to completely contradict the previous paragraph: "You are known for being impulsive, careless, reckless, foolhardy, rash and daring...")

    and i also see myself a little bit in the last three paragraphs.

  6. There are some blatant contradictions, yes. You should do your Aquarius chart and see if it's better or worse.

  7. yeah, i just did mine, and the amount i identify with is more or less the same, which is really because it's all so vague that both charts (and probably any chart we looked at) end up covering such a wide spectrum of emotions and behaviors that they can be applied (usually self-applied) to pretty much anyone.

    "You tend to be very opinionated..."

    well gee whiz! that does sound like me! i have opinions! nobody has those! at least, that's how i think of myself, because it's flattering to think that others see me that way...

  8. Well, probably not _everyone_ thinks of themselves as opinionated, impulsive, etc.

    May be more telling if the negative traits seem compatible.

  9. good point about negative traits. people like to hear good things, which is why these charts seem to paint pictures of personalities that, though flawed, are basically heroic. like batman!

  10. Someone should do up some Asshole Astrology. Asstrology? Make it all negative-like. "Cancers are bad in bed and never return phone calls," etc. Best, of course, if it's all true.

  11. I got: "Never lazy or self-indulgent, you tend to be dedicated to the work ethic."

    AND: "Beware of your tendency toward self-indulgence...When things come too easily for you, you can be lazy and indolent."

    So, um, yeah.

  12. Ha! You lazy, indolent blob. I'm surprised you had the ethic to notice.

  13. remember the fortune teller scene from Before Sunrise? :)

    Gypsy: You are both stars, don't forget. And the stars exploded billions of years ago, to form everything that is this world. Everything we know, is stardust. So don't forget, you are stardust!

    Jesse: (Looks away with cynical expression.) I mean, that's very nice and all, I mean, that, you know, we're all stardust, and you're becoming this great woman, I mean, but I hope you don't take that any more seriously than some horoscope in a daily syndicated newspaper.

    Céline: You, what are you talking about? I mean, she knew I was on vacation, and that we didn't know each other, and that (laughs) I was going to become this great woman.

    Jesse: Aw c'mon. But what was that “I am learning” bullshit? I mean, that's WAY condescending. You know? I mean, she wasn't even doing me. I mean, if opportunists like that, ever had to tell the real truth, it would put their ASSES out of business. You know? I mean, just once, I'd love to see, some little old lady, save up all her money, you know, to go to the fortune teller, and she'd get there, all excited about hearing her future, and the woman would say (taking Céline's hand, mimicking a fortune teller, including the voice) , “Um-hmm. Tomorrow, and all your remaining days will be exactly like today--a tedious collection of hours. And you will have no new passions, and no new thoughts, and no new travels, and when you die, you'll be completely forgotten. Fifty shillings, please.” You know, that I'd like to see.

  14. The choices would probably be the weakly euphemistic "perspired" or the impossible but wonderful "swat".

  15. "I sweat, I sweated, I have swoten."

    Word verification, as it happens, of fact, is "eggen."

    "I egg, I egged, I have eggen."

  16. Okay, the second sentence in my previous comment is completly incoherent. I was thinking both "as it happens" and "as a matter of fact," and a hybrid monster was born.

    Such are the consequences of humans meddling in forces far beyond their comprehension...

  17. I sweated, you sweated, s/he sweated, we sweated, they sweated
    I have sweated & c.

    How very unsatisfactory.

    The trouble here begins with Middle English. Anglo Saxon swat (long "a") , by the usual change from long "a" to long "o", became Middle English swoot, whence the verb sweten, which soon lost all the sweetness of sweat (speaking of passionate affairs) when the ea was shortened to the sound of e in let. That should in turn have become swote in Modern English, but the word seems to have been altered by usage (people, always being difficult, WILL talk) to make the substantive accord with the derived verb.

    We should be able to say I swote, in both present and past tenses tenses.

    Pity, really, when you think about it.

  18. I like "I swote" because it reminds me of "smote".

    I totally bought "as it happens, of fact" as some dialect I wasn't familiar with.