Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tact: A Lost Art

MOON IN CANCER
Wait, didn't we already deja this vu? Yes, we did, but consider today a continuation of yesterday's post and taking into account that the Moon remains in the sensitive sign of Cancer, it's fitting. In addition to making everyone a little more emotional, we're all going to be a little sensitive and quite possibly, a little more critical than we might normally be. At least, on the inside. What happens when that comes out?

I started to think about the ways that we express ourselves, especially when we're offering criticism. Of course, it didn't hurt that I had my classroom management class yesterday, which is all about how to relate to students so they don't, you know, pull a gun on you for asking them to sit down. Terrifying to think that's even a worry in today's schools. I digress. The point is that there are many ways to offer information to someone else. And most people aren't stupid. They know when you're lying. They know when you're blowing smoke up their ass. Still, some are more than willing to listen to the flattery. After all, flattery will get you everywhere. What about the other side of the coin? Where does criticism get you?

For the most part, we are encouraged to speak our minds. First Amendment and all, right? Well, sure! I mean, I'm blogging here - obviously, I'm not going to argue against Freedom of Speech and Press. And most blogs tend to be somewhat controversial. That's why we read them. They're opinions, stated for everyone to read and agree or disagree with. Online, and especially in real life, it seems as though Freedom of Speech means a disregard for another person's feelings. If that person is a Cancer or a Scorpio, look out!

How you say something is just as important, if not more so, than what you say. We developed language so that we could communicate and we use it more often than not to hurt or belittle or flatter for our own gain. In such a narcissistic society, how can we be expected to look further than our own interests? Okay, okay, not everyone is out for themselves, but it's certainly encouraged through the actions we see around us every day - people shoving to get in the subway, butting in line, talking loudly on the phone; even the iPod is designed to block out the world and focus on you, you, you. Not that some selfishness isn't good, but it might not be the most effective way of communicating with others.

Story time!
I had a fairly recent event occur at my former job. Like any good artist in NYC, I was waiting tables. Now, the ketchup lids at my station had not yet been cleaned (I was finishing up) and my manager saw this, flipped out, and called the entire staff over. This was the first time that I had ever been told, warned, spoken to about the ketchup lids. Granted, he had a point - they were dirty. Okay. Valid. Totally on board with that. I was then reamed out in front of the staff as an example and written up by this manager. I was totally flabbergasted. Having now been screamed at (never one of my favorite activities), embarrassed in front of my coworkers (I'd rather see a middle school production of Mamet), and written up (with no warning) over ketchup lids, I was needlessly frustrated and angry. From then on, any time this manager was on the floor, I became hyper-sensitive, uptight, and anxious, which made me prone to more mistakes. Effective? I think not.

How I wish I could bring that manager, and some other folks I know, to the classroom management class! Perhaps it's an older generation thing, but ruling by fear is not going to yield the best results. You'll get obedience, but it'll be grudging and resentful. Had my manager simply taken me aside and said, "Look, I noticed that the ketchup lids in your section are dirty. We can't have that. Please take care of it immediately. This is your warning," I would have jumped to fix the situation and I would have been on the alert in the future, but I would not have been nervous about it. I don't need to be coddled. I don't need to be babied. I do need to be informed. A employer-employee relationship is just that: a relationship. Communication is essential in any relationship. After all, you're not going to react too fondly if your romantic partner suddenly starts screaming at you and threatens to break up with you because you left a glass on the coffee table. For something that could have been so easily fixed, he blew it completely out of proportion. The staff meeting would have also been fine if he had made it a blanket statement for everyone. "Ketchup lids are getting dirty. That's unacceptable." Cool. Message received.

Fear is not the most effective motivator. Encouragement is. I mean, real encouragement for adults. We're not children, but even the toughest adult can have a fragile self-esteem. Speaking with respect is going to gain you so much more loyalty than dangling my job in front of me. I could go with a fly/honey/vinegar cliche here, but seriously, who wants flies? Tact is not a hindrance and it shouldn't be viewed as such. We can speak to each other with respect and still disagree and get our point across. I love sarcasm as much as the next Jeanine Garrofolo, but it depends on the situation and must be used in moderation. The advent of the net has added to our lack of tact. We're not actually talking to a person; we're typing to a screen. Why bother with netiquette? Yet, it's even more dangerous because there are no social cues in written form. Thank goodness for emoticons! :)

Not trying to Emily Post here, but in today's world, it seems that we have become far less concerned with the effect we have on others and the sensitive-yet-critical Cancer in all of us has the power to snap back. I urge you to take a look at how you speak to others. We're all guilty; myself included. If you feel your tact is not intact, try a different tack.

Remember: Cancers are soft underneath their shells and they have claws, so be careful how you say what you say!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Feel It Out

MOON IN CANCER
The moon is the natural ruler of Cancer. This is going to be a powerfully emotional period, especially as the moon is waxing. Cancer is a nurturing sign of home and belonging and with the moon's fluctuating influence, feelings are going to be somewhat unpredictable, but strong. I'd make sure to think before speaking during this time, but it may also be an opportunity to get something off your chest that you've been keeping buried.

Want to know more about Cancer? Look here.

Sharing emotions is an important part of life. Without this, therapists would have no job. It's vital for us to have someone to talk to. The hard part is finding that person that you can really talk to. Some people swear by therapists. Others refuse to see them no matter what's going on in their lives. Yet everyone seems to agree that it's healthier to talk about your feelings than to bottle them up. Sometimes, though, I know I'd love to put my feelings into a jar and lock them away in the cupboard for awhile. Especially with certain situations. It's hard to deal with difficulties when there are heavy emotions involved. How can we be expected to be the rational creatures that we humans profess to be when our hearts are constantly influencing our minds?

Of course, there are people who are just better at compartmentalizing their emotions. They are able to see past their feelings and move on to the decision at hand. Others become messes at the tiniest complication. Are certain people genetically predisposed to be able to handle major life-crises while the rest turn into weeping goobmongers? Or were we brought up to handle emotions a certain way? In my family, it was acceptable to express your emotions regardless of age or gender. Of course, there were certain accepted ways for that expression, but emotional communication was encouraged.For those who were not brought up in such an environment, have they learned to stifle natural emotions? Is this unhealthy? I suppose that would depend on how it manifests.

However, there have been studies that say that disease is exactly that: dis-ease. Negative emotions can create dis-ease within the body which manifests as a physical illness. This is why therapy becomes so helpful with regard to staving off sickness. Journaling is also a wonderful way to get feelings out if you don't feel comfortable speaking directly to a person. Blogging could be considered medication for emotional blockage. It's catharsis. No matter how you express yourself, it'll make you feel better.

Go ahead, get emotional. It's more than just a phase.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Networking: The Modern Whore

PLUTO IN CAPRICORN
Yes, yes, I know. Pluto isn't a planet anymore astronomically, but astrologically, Pluto still has an influence. In fact, it's the planet of power and it's sitting in the sign of ambition and career: Capricorn. Due to Pluto's long term and widespread influence, we're not going to see its effects on such a personal level, but more worldwide. Its influence is going to show in a lot of drive and determination so keep an eye out for major power plays while Pluto transits Capricorn.

Learn more about Capricorn here.


Work. We all work. We differentiate between "job" and "career." "Oh, this is what I do for my job, but it's not my career." Okay, what is your career? Is your career your passion? Wait, no, that's a hobby. But can a hobby be a career as well? Why not? For someone who comes from the arts world, that's exactly what it seems to be. Acting, writing, dancing, singing, photography, painting - all of these seem to fit into the "hobby" world and yet, people make careers out of them and, in some cases, very lucratively successful careers.

So when does someone get to say that he's a professional? When can someone say that she's an "actor" or a "writer" or an "artist"? When does it move from hobby to career? And then, what are the jobs we do while we're pursuing our careers? And how do we get out of those jobs?

Networking. It's not what you do; it's who you know. Right?

There was an article in today's METRO that explored the world of networking. The basic premise of the article stated that networking is not about talking to strangers; it's about hitting up the people you know and working their angles. Interesting. With the advent of LinkedIn, I now have about 25 contacts that are friends that I can talk to on a professional level and see how they can help me out. Then again, I look at their contacts and some of them have over 100 or even 200 contacts. Obviously, they know how to network and they must be working their dream careers by now! Maybe in some cases, but not overall. There's obviously an element to putting yourself out there that eludes many of us. Else, we'd all be working our dream jobs.

Like the oldest profession, today, it's about selling yourself. Marketing schemes are the biggest they've ever been and strangely enough, a great deal of those are about ways to start a career or land a job. How to work your resume. How to interview. How to follow up an interview. Due to this fading economy, life-coaching and therapy are on the rise, it seems (for those that can afford it). If you can't sell yourself, it's time to find someone who can sell you. Prostitution may not be the most glamorous profession, but it's certainly an interesting model for our business world these days. Move from client to client, entice them with what you have to offer, and reap the benefits. If you are having trouble, find someone more powerful to back you and help you find the right clients. The difference is that in most professions, getting screwed is only a possibility.

Of course, this brings the reverse - what can you do for your friends? Are you a contact of influence? Perhaps it's time we look at ourselves as powerful contacts and market ourselves accordingly. Maybe then the contact that we're looking for - that elusive element - will end up coming to us.

Ambition is on the rise - ride the Capricornian wave.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Celebrate the Mundane!

LIBRA'S SCALE
Strangely enough, the current news is more astronomical in nature than astrological. Scientists have discovered the possibility of two new life-sustaining planets. Where? In the constellation of Libra, the sign of balance and harmony. Granted, there are issues, but it gives hope for future discoveries. On an astrological note, however, there is speculation that there are still two undiscovered planets; right now, Mercury rules both Gemini and Virgo, and Venus rules Taurus and Libra. Every other sign-planet relationship is a 1:1 ratio. Maybe one of those planets will be able to sustain life, but it's a delicate balance.

Is your sun in Libra? Learn more about it here.

Balance. With four planets in my birth chart sitting happily in Libra (one of which being the sun), I try to keep things in balance. Unfortunately, this can lead to indecision, but in general, I think this is a good thing. There isn't much in life that doesn't have some kind of equal and opposite. After all, it's a Newtonian law: "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." Then again, what's the equal and opposite reaction to gravity, Newt?

Most of us wish for only good things, and that's completely natural, but without the bad, what good are we? We need to see ourselves through bad times to know how strong we can be, to see the challenges we can overcome, to keep our minds from sinking into atrophied complacency. Beyond that, it would be near impossible to recognize the good without experiencing the bad. What about the neutral?

The irony of this equal and opposite world is that things aren't always black and white, and as such, how do we keep our lives in balance? And is balance always desired? Most people attempt to do more "good" than "bad" thereby striving for an imbalance, but this is considered a desirable imbalance. These terms are defined by society, helping us to understand and work towards developing our imbalanced lives so that by the end, we can say that we lived good lives. Everyday life is not usually classified as good or bad. It's everyday. We barely notice it. They're our routines. How much of our lives do we spend in routine? Brushing our teeth, taking the train or driving to work, and then there are work routines on top of that. It's only when something out of the ordinary happens that we sit up and take notice. And why not? We don't usually seek out books or movies about the ordinary unless they do something extraordinary to make themselves stand out. Why should we care?

Perhaps Stephen Sondheim had it right when he wrote the lyrics for Into the Woods: "Must it all be either less or more? Either plain or grand? Is it always or? Is it never and?" Perhaps that's the key to balance: finding the and and appreciating the or. And of course, this has its own opposite - to not find or appreciate. Even in negation, the or holds sway. So I suppose that all we can do is ride the or wave until the elusive and comes along and gives us a taste of more, so than when we return to or, we can appreciate it. Thus, a further lyric from Sondheim, "Just remembering you've had an and when you're back to or makes the or mean more than it did before."

I think the principle is sound. Most of life is a wave of ups and downs, but when it's calm and balanced, we have to appreciate that even keel; the everyday, the mundane, the routine, the ordinary. I just got over being sick and being able to brush my teeth or walk around my apartment without pain is a joy! Who knew such boring, mundane actions could feel good? Sure, it's by comparison. Perhaps, though, next time you're going through your routine, you might take a moment to find something new to notice about it. Make it your new routine!

After all, the very Earth we share has become pretty ordinary to most of us (unless we travel to a new place), but with all of the planets that science has explored, so far, there hasn't been an exact match and there aren't many near matches. I'd say that makes the "ordinary, balanced environment" we're used to pretty extraordinary.

Maybe I'm a biased Libran, but I say, "Yay, balance!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Get By With A Little Help...

JUPITER IN AQUARIUS
Jupiter's expansive nature in a friendly sign of Aquarius. This should make us more open to making new friends and welcoming people into our lives. Since Aquarius is also a sign of wishes and hopes, this might also be a good time to wish upon a star. I know Jiminy Cricket would be proud of you if you did.

With Aquarius being the sign of friends, I look at the people around me. Having been in theatre, I've traveled through many different circles of friends. There have been a few from each show that I've kept in touch with (mostly through Facebook), but are these really friends or acquaintances? What's the difference? Someone I know used to joke that it wasn't a true friendship unless it was officialized by Friendster (then MySpace and now Facebook). Yet, let's look at textbook definitions.

From Dictionary.com:

friend

a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

ac⋅quaint⋅ance

a person known to one, but usually not a close friend.

Okay, so an acquaintance is friend-like, but not as close. Great. Who didn't know that already? Still, many of those I've met on my travels have been friends - we've shared experiences, and anyone who's been in theatre will quickly tell you that it's quite an intense, and often emotional, experience. Those who share such an experience (and don't end up hating each other by the end of it) are usually considered friends. Or would you say that they are cowokers? Colleagues? Where does the line get drawn?

I would say that the levels by which we define our relationships are indicated by how inextricably connected we are to the person and how much we are willing to share with them. I'm not going to share certain parts of my life with my coworkers the way that I share them with friends. Working up from acquaintances to friends is descending into the lower levels of my polluted stream of consciousness. You're going to learn much more about my hopes, my fears, my dreams, my guilty pleasures, my pet peeves, etc. You know, the sort of thing you ask on a first date or a college application.

Of course, in any new experience, we gravitate towards certain people and inevitably, form a clique. Clique has such a negative connotation, but let's call a spade a spade, right? Thing is, have you ever noticed that once you are a given role in a clique, it's very difficult to break out of that role? Look at your friends. Which one are you? Are you the hub; the one who everyone calls to find out what's going on? Don't get this confused with the decision-maker; when everyone's trying to decide what to do and throwing out options, finally, one person steps up and takes the reins. The decision-maker usually tells the hub and that's how the word gets out. Are you the quiet one; the one who sits and observes, rarely contributing, but when you do, everyone listens because what you have to say has power? Are you the drama queen (and just admit it if you are)? Are you the busy one; the one who everyone else's schedule has to work around? Are you the fringe; the one on the sidelines who shows up every so often and contributes and is part of the group, but no one expects you to be there every time? The dependable one? The smart one? There are many categories. If you're not sure, go check Facebook. I'm sure there's one of those picture quizzes that will tell you what your friends think of you.

It may change from clique to clique. In some groups, I'm second in command; there whenever the hub is gone to take up the slack and keep the group going. Others, I'm social director: I plan the events for when everybody comes together. Sometimes, I'm fringe. Sometimes, I'm smart. Sometimes, I'm the Phoebe (odd, but lovable). It all depends on the group of people. However, whenever I get together with a group where I'm the social chair, I have to plan. When I'm with a group where I'm the Phoebe, I'm expected to come out with odd knowledge. It's just the role you play. We are a mask-wearing society. That doesn't make the friendships any less powerful.

All relationships change over time. A true friend is someone whose changes complement your own. That's a rare thing to find, but once you have, it's a role you won't ever mind fulfilling.

Take Jupiter's energy and go make a new friend!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gender Blur

VENUS/MARS IN PISCES
As discussed yesterday, Pisces is enjoying four planets right now and two of those are so close, they're in what's called a conjunction. That means that they affect each other very strongly, and what better two planets than Venus and Mars? Venus, planet of love, and Mars, planet of passion, are bolstering each other during this time in Pisces, the sign of illusion. Talk about an interesting time to get into a relationship!

Still, there's a lot to discuss with regard to gender, especially when it comes to illusion! Are men really from Mars, and women from Venus? So thinks John Gray. Yet, the gender lines are not as cut and dried as they once were. We're seeing a great deal of gender blur in today's society, most of which are under the heading, Tran. Transsexuals. Transvestites. Transgender.

One of the main areas that we're seeing a blur of the genders is in clothing. That seems to be one of the biggest giveaways that someone is playing with their gender. Some might argue that it all started back when women first wore pants. Thank goodness for Elizabeth Miller and her suffragette ways back in the 1800s! Who would have thought wearing pants would have been such a political move? Fashion has always made a statement. World War I was the true advent of pants as women had to take up the work while the men fought. What a gender bend THAT must have been! Women in the work force? How gauche! Yet, now, it's perfectly acceptable for women to wear pants, suits, button down shirts, ties - all classically male clothing.

What about a man in a dress? Well, that's just weird, isn't it? Unless you're Scottish and then it's not a skirt, it's a kilt. What a difference it is to see a man in female clothing than it is to see a woman in men's clothing. Admit it, guys - seeing your girlfriend wearing just button down shirt is hot. Okay, ladies, would you want to see your boyfriend in your miniskirt? Not sexy at all, is it? In fact, there was just an article in the paper about a husband who had been married for 5 years and his wife just found out that he likes wearing her underwear. She's completely up in arms about it. The doctor at hand suggested that it would be akin to seeing her in his briefs and work boots. Yet, I bet there are more men who find that image arousing than women who would be attracted to the husband in panties.

Walking into any clothing store, you'll notice that the genders are distinctly separated. Men on the first floor, women on the second, or vice-versa, but take a good look at the clothing being offered. Some of it looks awfully similar, doesn't it? Then take a look at some of the people around you. Are you seeing fairly gender neutral clothing that hints one way or another by the length of sleeve or the cut of the leg? Nothing is so cut in stone anymore with regard to gender; not even fashion. Oh, sure, many will argue that sleeve length goes a long way to delineate gender, but think of where we've come from - bodice and bustles to tshirts and jeans. A sleeve length makes the difference?!

However, cross-dressing today will still make an impact. I remember watching Eddie Izzard with my family and my father couldn't get past the fact that he was dressed like a woman. It was a preference. I wanted him to just watch and listen, but the comedy was overpowered by the visual disturbance. Drag is a powerful entertainment tool - just look at RuPaul. She's made drag into a career!

We can then take the train from Dragville to Transgendervania. Men and women who feel that they've been born into the wrong bodies. How much of gender is about genitalia? Does the physicality make a difference? Many would say, "No." It's not about the body you were born into; it's about who you are inside. As we've been told since we were kids, don't judge a book by its cover. How must it feel to be uncomfortable in your own body? To gender identify with the opposite sex? Never mind sexuality. This is just about being yourself. It's amazing to think how societal norms must affect these folks. Of course, we do kind of screw it up from the get-go and dress boys in blue and girls in red. Red is traditionally a masculine color, symbolizing virility, anger, passion, war, blood. Blue represents emotion, intuition, connection, mystery, love. We've been cross-dressing since we were babies!

An errant thought: if Pennsylvania is Penn's Woods, shouldn't Transylvania be filled with cross-dressing trees?

There are many ways that genders are blurring more and more nowadays and it's not just clothing, but what you wear has always been an expression of individuality. Some are more willing to show theirs. There will most likely be other gender rants, but until then, enjoy the Venus/Mars conjunction!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fantasy vs Reality: Which is Real?

PISCES POWER!
Today, there are four planets in Pisces: the Moon, Venus, Mars, and Uranus. That's a whole lotta water and it's overflowed into the sky (it's raining in New York). Pisces is a sign of dreams and illusion, be they for good or ill and to have four planets traveling through this spirtual sign will show an increase in daydreaming, fantasizing, and idealization. The other side is that it's going to increase in delusion, both self and otherwise.

With Pisces so strong, is this a wonderful or dangerous time?

Let's face it, reality can be a true bitch - we're talking nose in the air, designer clothing, froo-froo dog in the bag, bitch. And that's the masculine side. Why do you think people say, "You have to face reality." Reality's not going to come to you. It's already there and when you wander away, it's waiting to slap you and wake you up. So why wander? Why even bother setting yourself up for that slap in the face?

I think fantasy is essential for survival. Humans need to dream. It's what gives us courage, makes us stronger, shows our true colors. We must have something to strive for. Most of the abstracts that we believe in - love, justice, fame, even (dare I say it?) religion, are leaps of faith. We dare to dream of them and in dreaming them, we have caused them to be. Dreams are the seed that allows belief to grow. Whether any of these abstracts actually exists is unprovable by science and technology, but because we dared to dream of them, we believe in them and they have become integral parts of our society. If you don't believe me, just take a look at the number of love songs, the plethora of lawyers, the idolized celebrities, the multitude of varying religions. Even atheists and agnostics have dared to dream of another option: the possibility of nothing. Before everyone goes flying off the handle because I grouped religion with fantasy, think about it - what staple of our world has not been given weight because of a belief? Money is just a piece of paper. Gold and silver are stones. Boundaries and borders for nations are man-made.

There is incredible power in fantasy, such as the power for self-delusion. Humans have a fabulous capacity for creation and sometimes, that works against us. We choose to believe a lie because it's easier than "facing reality." At times, that can be a good self-protective mechanism, but what about when it's destructive? We choose to believe someone because we love them, even though they are hurting us. We choose the path of ignorance when there is wrong going on around us. When is the fantasy dangerous? And for that matter, who gets to decide? Are there really people who are insane or folks who saw reality so differently that the powers that be decided it was too dangerous to have them around? There was a time when the Earth was flat and the center of the universe and it was unthinkable to say otherwise. Are the insane so far advanced that they can see what fantasy can create? Who could have foreseen computers, let alone the internet, a century ago? Would they have been considered insane? Or visionary? We have all accepted certain things as real and of course, that's also essential to survival. Still, our dreams can reshape our world. It's why we read books, watch TV, and attend movies. We still long to dream of more than what we see around us.

I think Jane Wagner had it right when she wrote, "Reality is nothing but a collective hunch." We make our own reality. The irony is that reality once started as fantasy.

So, I say, go for it, Pisces! Bring on the whimsy; I'm ready to recreate my world!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

School's Not Just For Kids

SUN IN TAURUS
The sun enters Taurus at exactly 6:46pm today for the East Coast. We're leaving the wild initiative of Aries and heading into the steady, grounded energy of Taurus. Taurus is a stabilizing influence, very dependable, to the point of being stubborn. With the sun's energy behind it, this sign will push a focus on financial issues and working through projects.

Are you a Sun in Taurus? Find out what that means here.

Having just started graduate school for special education, I look forward to this kind of energy. I forgot that school is hard! My enthusiasm for school is still strong, but it has mellowed to the dedication towards schoolwork, a stubbornness that drives me towards high grades.

School has changed for me. Oh, sure the grades are there, and the tests are there, but the information seems ever more valuable because I realize that even in my general education classes are tidbits that will help me later in the career. I don't think I realized that the first time I went to college. It's an odd system that forces children of 16 and 17 to decide what they want to do for their careers. Those few that know what they want to do, that have that passion, are lucky. Many of us are stuck in limbo, trying to figure out varying career paths throughout our entire lives. I've traveled many paths myself and frankly, it's highly expensive to get educated! In an ideal world, higher education would be the norm, but education is a business and a commodity. The irony being that though every profession requires education of some kind, teachers are wildly underpaid and undervalued. I challenge anyone to think of a profession that does not require some kind of education. We are a society that values escape more than preparation. We want to watch TV, go to the movies, play video games, etc. Now, having come from the entertainment field, I'm not knocking this, but how can we expect children to value education when we don't?

For that matter, while calculus and physics are important to many professions, I could have definitely used a class on balancing my checkbook, basic tax laws, budgeting, nutrition, proper exercise, etc. We teach people how to make a living instead of teaching them how to live. I don't believe I've needed algebra nearly as much as I've needed budgeting skills. Perhaps, with better monetary skills, we would be better handling this economic crisis. Not necessarily a given, but who knows what could happen if we taught life skills in school? Then, those who would wish to go into professions that require calculus or physics can access those classes and maybe we wouldn't seek escape as much. But don't worry, entertainment will never go away. We will always have a need for it. Just as money is an integral part of our lives.

Which brings us back to Taurus, the sign of money. Hopefully, its dependable nature will help our world in this tumultuous time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Beginnings

SUN in ARIES
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, from March 21 to April 20th (approximately). It's a sign of youth, of initiative, of drive, of sexuality, of courage and it starts on the vernal equinox (beginning of spring). And the sun is a planet of vitality, of energy, of our basic natures. So Aries is roaring high with the Sun's support.

Are you an Aries? Learn more about having your Sun in Aries here!

Makes me think about new beginnings, especially since I'm starting this blog. Why not? This year has been a year of new projects and it's only April. There are so many things I feel that I can write about with a generalized topic like beginnings, but this blog is probably the best focus for a first entry. And not just blogging, but expression in general.

Who knew that blogging would become such a trend? I used to have a blog back when we called them LiveJournals. I was doing a 9 month gig at Amish Acres, a national historic site in a one-light town in Indiana. I would write all about the adventures I was having so that people back home could see what I was up to without having to constantly call each person and update them. Needless to say, I didn't have a great deal to write about, but hey, the family liked it.

Nowadays, it seems like everyone has a blog. Whether it's on Facebook, Myspace, IMVU, or here on Blogger, blogging is the new black. With everything that's going on in the world, it seems like a lot of people are able to express themselves; a vital outlet for frustrations, excitement, and opinions. Journaling has been taken to a new level. The difference is that many of these are public and if you're entertaining enough, you develop a following. People rely on you for entertainment. Some people have a gimmick, like Aaron Karo's RUMINATIONS or pinkisthenewblog.com. Others are able to offer advice or insight to those who might be searching for information on certain subjects, such as Kristin Nelson's PUB RANTS. Some people just want to express themselves, and I think it's a great idea.

For those who prefer something more immediate (and let's face it, in today's society, who doesn't want immediacy), we've got Facebook, Twitter, Myspace (if people still remember Myspace), and, going back to the Jurassic period, Friendster. It started back at Friendster as a networking tool. That moved to Myspace where we added backgrounds and the like. Twitter is a new site for me. I'm "following" a few people on there with their "tweets" but I still don't understand the importance of learning that my friend is showering or eating eggs or dancing around their room naked. I don't really need the constant updates on the lives of my friends, but I can't help reading them.

Facebook opened a whole new world and now that they've updated, you can not only find out the status of your friends, but you can find out what Musical they are, what their inner Animal is, even what their power Color is and what that means. I'll admit that I enjoy the quizzes, even though they clog my live feed, but when I found out what type of BACON my friend was, that was almost enough to make me quit cold turkey. On top of that, Facebook has a million apps, complete with those that cost money. Then there are the Notes with surveys. It's a full time job to keep up with Facebook. A few weeks ago, a friend asked me if I was attending her birthday party and I asked her if she had emailed me about it. Scandalized, she responded, "No, I Facebooked you!" This is what life has become. If you're not on Facebook, you might as well not exist. And yet, somehow, my sister managers to work and have a social life and a healthy relationship without a FB account. I admire that. I don't know that I have the strength to give it up. Besides, there are so many wonderful addictions to play with on FB. Similar to Twitter, FB offers the status update, though people tend to post slightly more abstract ideas instead of what they are doing at that moment. Depending on the post, each status update my be a Rorschach Test of your friend's emotions based on your interpretation and how well you know them. But of course, you know every one of your FB friends intimately, yes?

Recently, I discovered LinkedIn, a networking site for professionals. I've worked in two major fields - Writing and Theatre. Both rely on who you know, so sistes such as this are essential for my professions. I don't know of many fields that don't consider networking a vital tool. Perhaps taxidermy, but then, not many animals are Twittering about their deaths. I'm still discovering the secrets of LinkedIn, but I have to admit that there's an excitement to see my network grow.

IMVU takes it one step further. You have a profile there, but it's for a virtual self that can then explore a virtual world and chat with other people. You create an avatar and shop and earn badges. It's Myspace or Facebook meets SecondLife. Definitely takes profiling, blogging, and networking to a new level.

Now, with the iPhone and its colleagues, we can stay in touch at all times. There are many benefits to these connections - our world is getting smaller by the day - but I remember the days when you had to wait until you got home before you heard a message from someone. And then, there's AIM, the precursor to the FB status, with its away messages. It's still there, but I don't see as many friends there anymore. As more and more networking systems emerge, we leap to keep up. It's exciting and frustrating and addicting.

And as Aquarius is the sign of innovation and technology, one might say that we are truly experiencing the Age of Aquarius. :)

Stop back to check out what's happening in the stars and what that might bring up for discussion!
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