Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) You know those fancy point-and-shoot cameras that strobe the light before they actually take the picture? In theory, they keep you from looking like a vampire by tightening your pupils so they don't reflect the flash. In practice, they often make you think the picture's been taken, so you start to move, or blink. What's captured is some awful transition between your gorgeous pose and whatever you were about to do next. This week might be a lot like that preparatory strobing. Don't mistake it for the real thing and screw up whatever you're trying to do. Just keep holding, don't blink and wait for the click.
Aries (March 21-April 19) Your Daddy planet, Mars, is moving back into your house. While he's strolling in the front door, your generous, jolly Uncle Jupiter, who came to stay with you for a while, is sneaking out the back. While the rotund Jupiter has a great sense of humor, he's so laid-back he made your life almost mellower than you could stand. Things are sure to heat up now! That's what I'm worried about. Oh, I'm as excited as you are to see the sparks start flying. Just don't let anything valuable catch on fire this time, you fucking hothead!
Taurus (April 20-May 20) Traveling in Asia I discovered that I'm truly addicted to books (imagine "Reader's Anonymous": "Hi, I'm Caeriel, and I can't stop reading?" "Hi, Caeriel!"). Like any junkie, I rarely dare travel far from a decent source of new reading material, unless I have plenty with me. Even then, I worry I might not have enough. Reviewing my pretty wimpy addiction, I'm both thankful and regretful that it's not more tragic and romantic-sounding, like being a heroin-hooked hustler, or an Oedipally frustrated, orally fixated chain-smoker. No, the truth is, all addictions are pretty ugly. I may not have a chance this week to pick and choose which ones I'll keep, which I'll change and which I'll flush like a sex addict's used condoms, but you will.
Gemini (May 21-June 20) There are moments when there's nothing you can do, like when you're stuck in traffic. Simply realize the reins are in somebody else's hands. Oh, sure, you could make yourself crazy weaving through the endless jam, maybe actually advance in the mess by five or six cars. But that gun in the glove compartment ("Strictly for self-defense," you swore) might become too much of a temptation?if you could decide whether to shoot someone else or yourself. Don't fight the bit, baby. There're things you can do to distract yourself from the circumstances you can't control. In this case, you could snack on those ancient candies in the seat cushions, reapply your makeup in the rearview, fill up a Gatorade bottle with piss or embarrass yourself by joyfully singing along with your car stereo. Be creative?you'll come up with something.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) Of my mother's comments when she first read "Sign Language," the one that stuck with me was a critique of my language. Of course, she wasn't referring to grammar; she meant "swear words," like, "you're full of shit, you fucking asshole." Despite the fact that she freely uses words like these (only when appropriate), she wasn't entirely approving of my use of them here. "It's just not nice," she probably thinks. Most of the advice you receive from the "moms" in your life is good?it's based on actual experiences they've learned from. But occasionally, they'll surprise you with a ridiculous load of shit. Learn to recognize it when you see it. Say, "Sorry, Ma, there's the shovel," and just step over it and keep walking.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) Tell your friends that you want a surprise party this year, and ignore any sarcasm ("Are you sure the ol' ticker can take it, Grampy?"). As you get older, resist regarding each birthday as just another depressing milestone. As the second most graceful agers in the zodiac (Capricorns have the unique quality of aging backwards), many Leos remain?if not in their primes?primed for life, all their lives. Celebrate your half-birthday this week (even if it was a couple weeks ago) by focusing on all the youthful aspects of yourself. And tell your friends that your real birthday party had goddamn better be a surprise. It's important to give the ol' ticker a workout now and then.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) The difficulties of being such a complex individual are sometimes invisible to those who conduct their lives on simpler (more unequivocal) terms than yours. So what if you waffle on important (or negligible) decisions, hedge on controversial issues or make lists just to make up your mind? I think your m.o. is incredible. For you, there're no hard-and-fast rules to life, but there should be one, which is superior to and supersedes all others. It is, simply: accept yourself.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Lately, you've been craving imperfection. You've enjoyed your toast a little burnt, your clothing slightly frayed and your apartment a little too cool. It's not that you've finally accepted that the world isn't perfect. No, it's just that you're inching closer to the solution I've been goading you toward all along. You can't be the missing piece to every puzzle. The irony is that once you accept the imperfections in yourself, you'll fit that much more perfectly into this most imperfect world.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) When I closed John Irving's A Widow for One Year, I cried. I often feel emotionally shipwrecked when I finish a good book. In this case, I wasn't responding to any specific events in the novel. It's just that finally leaving characters and their absorbing reality is almost like being abandoned on a deserted island, or being returned to civilization after a long, lonely stay on a deserted isle. It's a mixture of relief and loss, similar to how one might react to the death of someone who's suffered a prolonged, painful illness. This week you might experience a strange blend of emotions that aren't necessarily comfortable sleeping next to each other. Then again, you've had some pretty odd bedfellows yourself.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) I picture you as an enormous, well-fed goldfish. You've explored your little world thoroughly, finding nooks and crannies that some of the other fish can't even imagine. But how will your well-honed skills fare when tested against the big fish from all the other little ponds? Who knows how that might change you, cause you to grow? Sure, being a smart, lazy goldfish has worked well so far, given your limited environs. But wouldn't you rather evolve into a shark, electric eel or flying fish? Worried that your new abilities might make it impossible for you to ever fit into (or be happy in) your little pond again? You've heard the phrase, "You can never go home." It's true?even if you never leave.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) It wouldn't be the first time you tackled a plate of food that you couldn't possibly finish, or avidly pursued a sexual encounter, only to discover that you're not really that into the person you sought. This isn't a critique?I admire your ambition. Don't let past errors prevent you from trying to grant your own wishes. It's far better to make mistakes in pursuit of your dreams (lofty or otherwise) than to make the mistake of not trying for them at all.