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sweet djehuti deal

thanks to teenangst from flickr

matt moore is a poet and a smart guy (they're not always mutually exclusive, you know). i met him at interesting south. he taught us how to make zombies. and last week, or sometime recently, he decided to amp up his lyrical content and put out a call.

i'm a sucker for cross-discipline collaboration, so i put my hand up, did the homework required and here's what he came up with, and some random notes about it, to boot.

the poem is going to be part of my exhibition at allan's walk later in the year. don't you just love transferrence?

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missed it by that much

thanks to moving house, i missed the second dorkbot melbourne in a row!

and i missed out on some screenings of artworks around connectivity and systems that i really, really wanted to see:

1. Works of Art by Theo Jansen

2. The Way Things Go (Der Lauf Der Dinge) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss.

3. Paricipatory Installations: Interactive Wood Machines by Bernie Lubell, who you may recall I wrote about at ars electronica.

Thankfully, there is a special Part II of the January Dorkbot [maybe this happens to everyone at this time of year].

Thursday 31 January 2008 with Robert Henke.
held at the usual place: Level 1, 124a Johnston St Fitzroy,
but at the not-so-usual time of 7:30 for 8pm start.

Robert, aka Monolake will be joining us to talk about the design, construction and evolution of his Monodeck performance controller - a custom built MIDI controller he uses to perform live electronic music

If any of you went to 14.1, let me know how it went (and i'll try to not get really jealous) and if anyone is planning to go on thursday, i'll see you there!.



happy invasion day




books and things

There are a few book posts kicking around at the moment, and I’m going to do my own. you know, ‘cos that’s how I roll. I actually love books as much as I love records and art. Not just as content but as object. (that bit was just for you Opi)

Firstly, check out this cool idea: blogging dog-eared pages.

One that I wanted to do is from the book I’m currently reading in fits and starts, Decline and Fall, by Evelyn Waugh:

’The problem of architecture as I see it,’ he told a journalist who had come to report on the progress of his surprising creation of ferro-concrete and aluminium, ‘is the problem of all art – the elimination of the human element from the consideration of form. The only perfect building must be the factory, because that is built to house machines, not men. I don not think it is possible for domestic architecture to be beautiful, but I am doing my best. All ill comes from man,’ he said gloomily; ‘please tell your readers that. Man is never beautiful, he is never happy except when he becomes the channel for the distribution of mechanical forces.’

Secondly, check out this super-cool bargain I got: First published 1888, this is the 1904 edition. Red leather cover, gold embossed signature on the front. The spine is a little, well, weary, but it’s still beautiful and the price was ace: $17! From the gorgeous Sylvia at Second-hand Things in Northcote.

And it contains gems like this:
And supposing our mode of dress were really graceful or beautiful, this might be a very doubtful question; for I believe true nobleness of dress to be an important means of education, as it certainly is a necessity to any nation which hwishes to possess living art, concerned with portraiture of human nature. No good historical painting ever yet existed, or ever can exist, wher the dresses of the people of the time are not beautiful

Thirdly, check out what else I picked up for $1 on Smith St!

In the nature of what goes around, comes around, I was only talking about this with my mum the other day. we were saying how we liked the film and I mentioned how I always thought of it when walking down Charing Cross Rd (but I could never remember the damn number).

Some highlights:

14 East 95th St

SEPTEMBER 25, 1950

he has a first edition of Newman’s University for six bucks, do I want it, he asks innocently.
Dear Frank:
Yes, I want it. I won’t be fit to live with myself. I’ve never cared about first editions per se, but a first edition of THAT book -!
oh my.
i can just see it.
Send the
Oxford Verse, too, please. Never wonder if I’ve found something somewhere else, I don’t look anywhere else any more. Why should I run all the way down to 19th St. to buy dirty, badly made books when I can buy clean, beautiful one from you without leaving the typewriter? From where I sit, Lond’s a lot closer than 17th Street.
Enclosed please God find $8. Did I tell you about Brian’s lawsuit? He buys physics tomes from a technical book-shop in London, he’s not sloppy and haphazard like me, he bought an expensive set and went down to Rockerfeller Plaza and stook in line and got a money order and cabled it or whatever you do with it, he’s a business man, he does things right.
the money order got lost in transit.

Up His Majesty’s Postal Service!


am sending very small parcel to celebrate first edition, Overseas Associates finally sent me my own catalogue.

lovely stuff isn't it.

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design police are living in my head

this is kicking around the bloggersphere a bit at the moment, but i still love it.

thanks to swiss miss, props also to stan.

UPDATE: my blog template is currently displaying symptoms of a sick and badly designed page.
i pledge to do something about it, very soon. please be patient with me.


finders, keepers

According to artdaily.org [from whom I've pinched both story and image] :

Greek writer Doreta Peppa found a sketchbook that is believed to belong to Vincent van Gogh. The sketchbook has portraits similar to thos found in Greece. Doreta Peppa is the daughter of a Greek resistance fighter. Doreta Peppa commissioned an art expert who found the sketched were made by Vincent van Gogh. Now Doreta Peppa seeks to establish the authenticity of the works with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

"Who would not be moved by such a discovery? This is van Gogh's soul," Peppa stated. "He intended this sketchbook as a gift and there is no other like it in the world."

Imagine stumbling upon that!!

I always love looking through 'old stuff'. I buy most of my clothes, plates, cups and the occasional typewriter/single slide projector from op shops, and I've always been able to find some pretty cool things. But I've never discovered anything quite as cool as that.

And you know what I'd really love? If she scanned in all the pages (even if it's not authentic!) and made it into a daily blog.

Fictional blogs are finally starting to gain some momentum. Beeker has posted about a play character's blog, and then there's the fabulous Samuel Pepys' Diary blog by the fabulous Phil Gyford (and perfect through a blog reader). Imagine this sketchbook, day after day. It could be a great bit of online content, firmly routed in both tactile object and history.

You know, Van Gogh 2.0.

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Quick! Sharon! Mum sent us a postcard from Paris! Grab the Emergency Fridge Magnet!

fffound, on Essex Rd, Footscray



a tragi-comedy in 3 parts: part 3

thanks to sara johanna from flickr

After the intensity of Parts One and Two of my current performance [a tragi-comedy in 3 parts, otherwise known as house-hunting], Part Three was looking exciting. I had decided that I was only going to look at great places from now on and the next search was full of promise.

You may also remember that within the madness of it all, I continued to find [sometimes very loose] correlations between house-hunting and the creator/audience relationship. Weird how those things happen.

Act One: cute little place in Brunswick West– just for me and the cat. Judging from the crowds at the inspection, it would be tough competition and [according to the real estate agent], people were offering more than the advertised price, or to pay 3 months’ rent in advance, as 'incentive'. While it may mean that this palaver drags on way past it’s prime, there’s no fucking way I’m bribing anyone for a basic one-bedroom flat anywhere.

Bribing your audience [with cheap gimmicks or schlock tactics] may work for some, but ultimately, it’s a cheap gain and you just end up looking like a scene whore. It's the difference between notoriety and success. And while Warhol milked it, there's only so many Warhol impersonator's the artworld can take, really.

The Second Act was a short one: a small room, living with a couple of old queens in a student room, complete with frangipani paintings on the wall. They were lovely boys, but I’m looking for more than somewhere to board. I was polite and honest, which they appreciated. We left on equal terms and I carried on my way.

While brutality is uncalled for, polite honesty is lovely to participate in and there is a sense that you could easily come back for a cup of tea. Being able to generate that kind of pleasantry with your audience may not move mountains, but it’s certainly going to go a lot further than fucking them around.

I was hoping that the Third Act would be the finale of the whole shebang: Me living in a beautiful house in Northcote with a young designer and a German student all for just over $500 a month.

thanks to kitschkitten from flickr

In the almost-interview, we sat out on the back verandah, looking out over a vegie patch, lemon tree and stringybark gum, chatting about Italy and creativity. The clincher? The boys were open to living with a cat and I was convinced that this would end with a rousing crescendo, applause and an all-star curtain call. I waited, bated breath.

Shock twist towards the end: sms - only problem is the cat. good luck with your search.

I usually love a good twist - keeps the audience on their toes. This time I almost threw up on mine, but managed to salvage a state of mind resembling mild annoyance. Currently preparing for an encore.



The Mix Tape

Saturday afternoon, Age and I finally caught up for a good ol’ natter. Three hours later and we had covered everything from NYE to car demand ideas (with a weird space-jump in between), love, sneakers, europe, music and pretty much everything in between. He’ll hate me for saying so, but hangin’ out with him is like hangin' with my clued up, spunked up, lovely kid brother.

pinched from your facebook pics

One thing specifically that we chatted about (and, surprisingly agreed on - ha!) was the humble mix tape and how much both of us love the whole concept of sharing music with friends and lovers. I miss being able to knock up a mix tape (thanks to a limited iTunes library and all my CDs and vinyl in storage), but I absolutely love the mix tapes I've been given, which I've decided to share with you all:

•The Dave Peddle Mix
For my birthday, a dear friend of mine, artist-in-waiting Dave Peddle, made me a mix tape of the coolest shit ever and it pretty much accompanied my trip around Europe. See the cool stuff on there? Mr Brightside by The Killers, Jean Grae, Peaches, Aliens by Dr Octagon (which is my marching-through-paris song), and Gabrielle by Ween (my iPod singing song).

I wouldn't ordinarily have half of that stuff in my collection, but that's the fantastic thing about the mix tape, you get to try new things, in a customised kind of way!

•Toodle Pip 1 & 2* by Young William
When I was in London, Will and I hung out a lot. Both of us were unemployed, opinionated and music snobs, despite otherwise being polar opposites. Will's knowledge and experience of (especially british) pop music is fucking phenomenal and I asked him to make me a mix tape before I left. There is such cool stuff there! [He only had 2 points deducted for including an ABBA and a Smashing Pumpkins song in there]: Clampdown by The Clash, Blackbird by The Beatles somewhere in there, and my personal favourite, Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) - starting with the perfectly apt lyrics: " she ain't got no money, clothes are kinda funny, hair is kinda wild and free"

Toodle Pip 1 & 2 have now become my soundtrack to being back home, having left some of my heart in London. Plus, I've definitely gained a finer appreciation for some of the classics and for that really sweet, well-crafted pop tune again.

*There is a Toodle Pip 3, but I keep losing it and it hasn't made its way to the library yet.

•Jeremiah's Mix
This one I found by accident! Before I left to go OS, one of my oldest, bestest buddies, Jem sent me a package returning my copy of The Dresden Dolls CD [which he had pilfered for 4 months before I even got to listen to it, haha], plus a bunch of other cool stuff that I needed to listen to: Tom Waits, Nick Cave (both Bad Seeds and Grinderman) and then this random disc with no writing on it that I thougt must've been blank. I didn't import it and left it back in Australia.

Then, yesterday, I get in the car to listen to some Grinderman, I put this mystery disc on, just to see what was on there and fuckin' hell, there's this awesome mix tape on there!

There is some serious music cred happening there, plus the cheeky bugger included On Golden Brown and The Passenger, two of my secret favourite songs of all time! I love my friends!

It is exactly this really personal, cool, loving thing about mix tapes that I totally dig. I even still call them mix tapes, despite the last time i made one on a cassette was about 6 years ago, when Caroline from Big Heavy Stuff organised an aussie mix tape Yahoo group, but hey, it doesn't matter.

I'm slightly miffed that my current iTunes doesn't quite get the concept of the mix tape - with all of these CDs, I've had to laboriously search for what the tracks are because ol' Gracenote can't identify the burnt CD, but hey it's only a minor detergent [sic].

Now, with all this musical goodness happening, I've got a renewed love and excitement for the mix tape, so watch out some of you :)

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well fancy that!

I’m the black sheep in my family: I swear too much, wear too much black, have a black sense of humour, cover my body in black ink and have a severly reduced sense of grace and tact. Plus I chose a career that is so far from being financially viable, it’s laughable. Thankfully, I somehow get to justify it all under the umbrella of being ‘creative’.

But I’ve often wondered where I get this 'creativity' business from: is it nature or nurture and if it’s a bit of both, where the fuck in my family did I get it from?

On the nurture side, my parents always encouraged my ‘art stuff’. Mum kept childhood drawings, allowed me to have a homework desk covered in tracing paper so that I could draw/paint all over it and morally supported my slightly wacky choices to throw in stable jobs for the sake of my art practice.

And as far as my short black genes go, I always though my right-brain thinking was from my fathers’ side - from my uncle Graeme, who used to draw beautifully, although he never pursued it as anything more than an enjoyable pastime. And even then, it didn't really seem to fit all that well.

That is until I moved back home and realise that i got most of this stuff from my own mother!! Soux chef by day… interior designer by night!!

These are pics of her sketch book that she keeps filling up, planning, designing and working away at evolving her home into an aesthetic living space.

She’s not so great on the perspective business, but just look at these plans! Look at that process – she’s even stuck paint samples in!

3 houses now, from dowdy to downright shambolic, have been transformed and resurrected into these amazing social spaces – all by a woman who learns all her stuff from Monument, Artichoke and Wallpaper* magazines.

How cool is that!

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from fourth plinth to third place

A couple of years ago, I heard about the idea of the third place: not home, not work, but the other place where people spend time in a comfortable social setting.

It came up in the development of a website for an old workplace and, unsurprisingly, the internet and online social networks are the new third (or fourth) place for people [which I can attest to, given the time I spend on blogs and the people who I’m friends with because of them].

I have thought about this ‘place’ every now and again, in relation to creating a particular environment for artwork, and of course it was brought home to me especially when I was in Europe, sitting in die platz or la piazza with everyone else.

And even more recently, I’ve been thinking about it in terms of how I’ve spent my summer.

Almost every day I go here.

The coffee is good, the barista is cute and it feels homely. The owner is a lovely woman who loves her regulars and they always know what I order: short black.

Creating that kind of atmosphere is not only good business sense for Victoria and the gang, but vital to the health of the community and the individuals within it. It provides an avenue for me to sit, enjoy being around people, without necessarily having to interact, and to feel ‘a part of’ without having to know any prior social codes or language.

And then, after I go there, I go here.

It’s my other third place, but more on the level of a public private place. When I’m out there in the water, swimming or floating, listening to the sound of the waves against the sand, I get introspective [in a socially-acceptable way].

I saw on someone’s delicious list recently (probably from the ever-referenced Dan Hill) an article about the place of the beach in the Australian’s psyche being similar to that of the church as a place to ‘cure what ails ya’. And I’m inclined to agree, really. I always feel better after a swim. I feel more connected to who I am, my body, my place in society – a mental, physical and spiritual salve, the role that the church plays in religious populations: a third place.

Given that I’ll be doing a lot of work in the public sphere this year, the idea of connecting with people publicly when they’re most open to being connected with is an important one and you can expect more on this soon.

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better blogging

I’m a little behind the times, but I recently discovered bloglines. Oh boy, it all rhymes.

Anyway, I’m loving the blogreader right now. I was always a little wary of it, ‘cos when I first registered it was a bit clunkier, I liked having my top 5 (until one of them disappeared off the face of the earth, thankyou very much Mister Colman!) and there was something ritualistic about making my way through my ever-growing list of bookmarks. The problem with it was I was starting to miss out on good posts by those I didn’t check everyday and I was getting a bit stuck in just hanging out in the same old places, not having time to really get to know any new spaces.

After coming up to speed, culling a few dead weights and organising my folders, I've been able to keep track of all my usual blogging boys and girls (even on dial-up), plus i've got a swag of new ones i'm checking out too!

some of my new old faves include

speechification (it's like a 5-for-the-price-of-1 special of ace bloggers from around the sphere, featuring some old faves like dan from cityofsound, russell davies and steve bowbrick, king of shaves)

crackunit by iain tait

hot cross haiku, instigated by ian row, but a collaborative affair

johnnie moore

and we made this

(does that cover the tag, Simon/Marcus?)

with all these great blogs i'm reading, I'm getting slight blogging envy too. I want my blog to be cooler, cover more interesting stuff, instigate heated debate, or something.

which makes it kind of interesting that i should stumble upon this meme on another new art blog: laketrees. i'm not a huge meme huffer, but i though i might do this one, as opposed to the 'what star sign are you/how many boys did you kiss last week/which brand of mp3 player do you use' type meme:

The Blogging Better Meme
by Sueblimely, via laketrees

The most important thing I have learned over the last year.
I met so many of my blogging buds last year that the most important thing i learned was that my blog is important. it's important for me to write about the stuff i do, as a tool for processing interesting thoughts. and it's a vital tool for me to make connections with people from all over the place (and believe me, some of them are all over the place). it is actually participation within a community of information and experience and i think on some level that's important.

What I would like to achieve within the next year.
"i want my blog to be cooler, cover more interesting stuff, instigate heated debate, or something."

What I wish to learn more about.
I want to learn more about electronics, and global politics, and books - i still can't find any hot new blogs about books, and urban socio-dynamics, and windpower, and the history of melbourne. phew!

How could I be more productive?
I could probably start by getting myself a broadband connection. And a new job. From what I can tell, when you start a new job, your blogging goes up.

And seriously, I think i'll try to write in word first and transfer it over - that seems to save a bit of time. And maybe give mobile photo blogging a whirl.

One new thing I plan to try.
see above. and i'm going to try and stick to that 'this week at the galleries' business this year. i like doing it and it seems to fill a small gap in melbourne art blogging-ness. i'm also going to try to dip into critical theory a bit more, every now and again.

The blogging tip{s) I have found the most useful
Of all the incredibly daggy conversations i had about blogging last year, i don't think i ever had a proper publishing tip. but i have noticed that accurately tagging my posts makes a difference. And keeping the posts short, that's useful.

Doddsy, in his infinite paternalistic care and wisdom, has given me some invaluable publishing tips:

1) Write regularly.
2) Briefer is better - but that doesn't mean dumbing down. There's a skill to writing less.
3) Link to new people (and to me daily of course) and you may thus draw in people willing to actively debate. I've no idea how you get people to comment - but i think it's down to the type of people one attracts.

The 4 (or more) people I am passing this on to. (please include someone quite new to blogging if you can - to help them along by introducing them to your own readers and giving them some backlinks).
i'm not really going to pass it onto anyone. people can pinch it if they like, but.

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public art, public opinion: the fourth plinth

The kids over at the We Made This blog have done a great post on the Fourth Plinth project happening in London's Trafalgar Square. It's a public sculpture project, with a shortlist chosen by experts, exhibited at the National Gallery and open to consultation with the public. Luckily, it's in London and has the involvement of the National and the Mayor of London/GLA, making it somewhat more refined and educated than something with audience participation like that would end up being here (think Australian Idol vs The Archibald).

Which i think is a bit of a shame, really. Seeing as work is created with public funds and is in the public domain, having the public take some ownership of it by having a say in its selection makes sense. In theory.

The reality here is that a larger proportion of the Australian population don't give a fuck about art, don't know anything about it, don't want to even consider paying for it out of their precious possible-loan-repayment money and don't listen when it is explained why good public art makes a difference to a city.

Which is such a pity, because there is a dearth of good public art sculpture out there (especially in Melbourne, a city brimming with good sculptural artists) and as discussed in a recent (suprisingly decent) Australian Art Review article, those responsible for commissioning the works are largely bureaucratic, unaware and narrow minded. Imagine if the process became a collaboration between curators, museums, artists and an appreciative public, like the Fourth Plinth project? This city’s reputation for public sculpture could almost match its reputation for street art, fine art, music, culture and general funky goodness.

Oh and as much as I would love to see a family of Trace’s meerkats hanging out on the plinth at Trafalgar Square, I’m going for Jeremy Deller's Spoils of War. Register your opinion over here if you like.

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a tragi-comedy in 3 parts

I’m in the middle of a doing a process performance work: a tragi-comedy in 3 parts, otherwise known as house-hunting. I thought I might amuse myself by documenting the process on this blog and making comparisons to communicating with an audience. what a laugh that will be.

Part One:
wrong, wrong, wrong: chaff from the wheat.

On Thursday, I looked at 3 places, all terribly wrong for different reasons – great place, wrong people, wrong place, no people, or wrong place, wrong people.

The first act was a beautiful townhouse in carlton, inhabited by a couple of young spoilt brats, which was a real shame. I could easily have lived there, done the place justice by keeping it reasonably tidy, using the little garden and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. none of which these girls did. it was all party-party-party and daddy’s money. great if they were my friends, but a nightmare to live with.

it was like a trashy mag, or a soap opera, or a ken done painting – the potential to use the place for good, but ending up just a whole lot of surface. which is fine in small doses, but, even though my motto for the year is to take myself less seriously, that would be taking it a little too far, into mid-life crisis territory.

the second act was advertised as an affordable 1-bedroom place in Parkville (close to transport and the city). so close to transport that the freeway was out the back window and so affordable that the place was like something out of requiem for a dream, or trainspotting – smelled of piss covered by air freshner, the carpet torn, the door busted in more times than I can say and the feel of a place one goes to die.

it was a classic story of not reading between the lines again. I forgot that real estate agents and landlords have a language which resembles plain English, but actually uses nutty signifiers, like gonzo poetry. affordable = dive, close to transport = right on the freeway and/or trainline, cosy = tiny, leafy area = out in the sticks. taking marketing to a whole new level.

I did have a discussion with the real estate receptionist, something along the lines of ‘what the fuck were they thinking’ and she replied, simply, “greed”. it got me thinking about greed and wondering if it’s only greedy if you’re dumb or exploitative about making your money. more on that later methinks.

I approached the final act with a sense of impending doom. this share house had included early in the ad that they ‘liked a social drink after work and on the weekends’. knowing that we only tell people a tenth of the story, I figured that they were probably boozehounds. and, like the first lot, great it they’re your mates, but not so nice to live with. the house was just ok and there was bad art on the walls. the back decking area was a bonus, and the fact that we talked about going out for a drink 5 times within a 5 minute conversation confirmed my suspicions: they were looking for a drinking buddy.

this reminded me about the fickle relationship we have with truth and communicating with others. even with our close, personal friends we only communicate a very small percentage of our true nature. let alone to strangers. reduce that again when you’re trying to sell something, or manipulate the reader/audience and you’ve got yourself a decimal point and a percentage sign in there somewhere.

it’s not just house-hunting, buying a car, or advertising that operates on this distorted truth plane. the arts bend it the one way to make a completely beautiful mockery of truth (artifice) and law tempers it the other way so that it is an arbitrary currency, but a currency nonetheless.

and all that rambling from looking at a few houses!

Part Two:
If fate is a cruel mistress, I am a naughty child

I had a good feeling about the places I planned to see today: a small one-bedroom place in abbotsford and an eco-friendly sharehouse in Brunswick with a vegie garden, green power and a nice price range.

I dealt fate a nasty blow today by fucking with my usual alarm system (new phone, new noises) and not waking up until 9am, way past the time possible to catch buses and trains to make the modest appointment times of 11:15 and midday. ah, country life – where the magpies sing, the breeze flows through and the buses run once an hour.

With my new motto of not taking myself too seriously, I’m hoping that once I’m settled in my fabulous new place, with great people, that I’ll look back on the hysterical crying and the feeling of being trapped, with fondness.

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the musings of an opinionated slob

i figure everyone else is posting fabulously intellectual musings about the year at hand, setting the bar high and proving what fantastic thinkers and writers they are. oh ho hum.

i can't be arsed trying to work out what is going to happen this year or to cultivate some kind of artwank trend advice, so i'm getting someone else to muse about my year instead. i've decided to start my 2008 bloglife by posting a whacky clip from my favourite astrologer freak instead.

he's no charles stab, but here's what rob brezny had to say about the upcoming year for me..

As I began my hike around the lake, I asked the spirits for a vision that would serve as a symbol of your life in 2008. "Give me a sign," I said aloud, gazing to the heavens. Soon I came upon two rattlesnakes copulating on the path ahead of me. It was a beautiful ruckus. I stopped a few yards back to watch, reasoning that they were too preoccupied with each other to attack me. When they finally disengaged, I retreated. Just then I saw a very pregnant woman approaching me. She was walking alone with her head down, lost in thought. I called her attention to the snakes and convinced her that for the sake of our well-being, we should flee the scene. And that, Aquarius, was the sign I asked the spirits to send me about your life in 2008. What does it mean? That's for you to meditate on. Here's a hint: Appreciate and learn all you can from the beautiful ruckus you'll encounter, but preferably from a safe distance. And be protective of other people who may be more vulnerable or less alert than you.


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