Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) If you've read "Sign Language" before, you know that whenever I mention beauty, I'm not only referring to the external, physical manifestation of it, but also the more durable and sexy internal kind. It's not hard to spot the shiny, glamorous surface type, but gorgeous qualities like kindness, joy and self-knowledge are far subtler. Nevertheless, your ability to strip people down to their foxiest inner essence is greater than ever. Tear down their sad, ugly defenses. They'll enjoy baring their loveliness. And when their unsightly walls are crumbled, they're more likely to notice your faceted and versatile beauty, too.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) The air quality in Los Angeles sucks. I realized how terribly filthy the atmosphere is when I noticed the scummy film that formed on my car windows, only one day after I'd washed them. Vacuuming, dusting and scrubbing can do nothing to clean up your similarly polluted emotional atmosphere, which is heavy with the sentimental silt of the people you live and work with. Dealing with it might seem as difficult as cleaning up decades of smog, but it's not. Your friends are conscious and sensitive to your stated needs, unlike the weather. They'll respond to a clear statement of boundaries, something along the lines of: Stop dumping on me, please.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) This week you might find yourself living out someone else's lame-ass fantasies. Not only will they have no bearing on your own, more sophisticated aspirations, you'll probably rediscover this basic truth: one person's dream is another's torturous nightmare. You might fall into a vat of Bud Light, or spend a tedious afternoon shopping with Britney Spears. See what I mean? Don't freak?this week you can escape your fate by working a trade. In exchange for letting your redneck cousin nearly drown in cheap beer, you could get a private meeting with the fascinating alien race that's been visiting his trailer park for years. Pass off the pop-star mall torture to your faggy teenage nephew. In return, he'll hand over the season sports tickets he won in a radio contest?with pleasure.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) It's your job to make sure you actually live your life, instead of sleepwalking through it, but I do what I can to help. WAKE UP! I wish I could press a screaming alarm clock against your ear, but I can only yell at you across the silence of the page. I'm worried that some of you are sleeping through your lives, and you probably don't know it. The dream you live may seem like a life, until you awaken. This week, question everything. Pinch yourself. Be as conscious as you can. And kick your own ass for me, for wasting so much time already. And if you ever notice me or anyone else dozing off in our own lives, return the favor.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Don't tell me you're still making wishes that couldn't possibly come true. You're not going to become a mermaid, richer than Bill Gates, or Supreme Ruler of Earth anytime soon. I'm glad they're virtually impossible dreams (or we'd be overrun by wealthy fish-tailed empresses, duking it out for paramount control of the planet). I'm not saying give them up (because you never know). Just push them aside until later, to make room for the only slightly less fantastic wishes that are aching to be made reality right now.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Working in a place like Disneyland could make almost anyone cynical. I'm not referring to pay or benefits, either, just the apparent requirement to be consistently cheerful and courteous when faced with the rude, middle-class family riffraff that comprises the bulk of Disney's target demographic. Some of the strained smiles I saw there looked more like rigor mortis than real gladness. Luckily, you're not paid to be fake like those poor clowns. So don't pretend happiness if you're not happy. That way you'll have a lot more time and energy to devote to attaining the real thing.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Stay inside, goddamnit. The world is out to rip off your balls (real or metaphorical). Let the machine take your calls, as they're probably all debt collectors and tele-salespeople. Don't even turn on the television. It's bound to be so mentally damaging, you'll be doomed to spend the rest of your life an emotional cripple. Wait. Hold it. Cut. Are you really buying this bullshit? You should know by now that I'd never seriously advise you in this way. My God, it would make you a ballless, friendless turd. Fuck those idiots in your life who use scare tactics to try to dissuade you from what you want to do. Make your own choices. You can kick the ass of whatever the world delivers this week. And if you're too busy keeping a good grip on your cojones to make fists, use laughter. It's more effective anyway.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) My friends and I spent a whole day frying in Disneyland last week. It was a blast. But I, with a ridiculous perma-grin plastered on my face, couldn't help noticing how grim most of the other people were. I didn't exactly blame them?the place doesn't live up to its reputation. But I did wonder what these folks do for fun. Do they have any? If they can't be happy at an amusement park, where can they be happy? Enjoy yourself this week. That is, do something that fills you with the kind of joy that makes you smile ear to ear. Then, once you've figured out what it takes to make yourself giddily glad, do the same for someone else.
Aries (March 21-April 19) When I'm shopping for an authorial hero, I have to regretfully eliminate anyone who's dead (although naturally I can still enjoy their work). My favorite authors are Barbara Kingsolver and Neal Stephenson. Yes, they're incredible writers. But I must confess my egotistical reason for my little "must-be-living" clause. I hope to graduate from hero admiration to peerhood someday. Someone who's dead is forever beyond me, but the living ones are not. Don't settle for having heroes when you can, if you try hard enough, be one.
Taurus (April 20-May 20) There's little to no audio privacy in my current sublet apartment. When my roommates screw, I hear it. Fine. I'm hardly interested, but it doesn't bother me, either. Last night I was awakened by the obvious sounds of two people getting it on while trying to be quiet. I turned over to return to sleep, but was drawn out of my rest by a whispered conversation. It was about offending me. Foreseeing a lengthy conversation, and just wishing to fall asleep again, I cut in: "Ideally, this conversation should have come before you did. But: I'm not offended. G'nite." It's good to question your actions?before you do them. After they're done, though, don't examine them. Own them.
Gemini (May 21-June 20) I'm short on cash. No biggie. I'm used to it; I've been practically broke for about a year now, since I first left North Carolina and started traveling. But now that I'm working on getting (and staying) settled for a while, my lack of funds is beginning to get a little old. I'm not stressing, though. How can I? There are so many other forms of abundance in my life: love, friendships, sunshine, dope, fun and purpose. Your undue focus on what you lack needs to change. The glass is half full, damnit. Practice looking at it this way. If you're still having trouble shifting your perspective, it should get easier next week, when your cup fills up to at least three-quarters.