artifacts mere

from mere life in an unexpected manner, p. 17
Elizabeth Travelslight

xvii is quoted from the lectures of Jean-Luc Nancy


Your Leo New Moon Horoscope

Where we are...the dots.
Click, print, color, count and connect! The new moon may bring the hectic summer energy down just a bit. Some midsummer grounding won't hurt, although city dwellers may feel a bit reluctant. The lunar darkness is a celestially scheduled reminder to shut our own eyes and assess our roots and inner world. Leo, however, is ruled by the sun– that big bright burning ball of fire that is the center of our universe. It’s all about shining our light and finding the courage to put ourselves out there. The task of a Leo new moon may well be this: Trace your wiring to be sure all systems are go for maximum illumination. (Sing along..."This little light of mine. I'm gonna let it shine...") Check in with yourself. Fill your own cup. Consider your creative talents, those things that when you share them make you feel most alive. Take an ego trip. Pat yourself on the back. That burning individuality is the most precious gift we have to offer. Best tempered, of course, with compassion and reason and reality. We are all stars. Fill another’s cup. And another’s. (At least two.) Give praise generously and sincerely to those whose gifts have enhanced your own life. (Mercury and Venus in Leo make it easy.) Take no one for granted, including yourself. We all deserve every good thing– time to play, meaningful work, abundant resources, loving relationships, great health, delicious food, honest praise. Summer, especially, is ripe with opportunity to share and make the good things grow.

cheers, *elizabeth**

P.S. “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” That'd be Shakespeare. I feel like most of you readers are pretty savvy folks who don't need "how-to" horoscope instructions. But since I’m still feeling new to the whole horoscope scene. (This one makes five!) You're invited to read my friendly disclaimer so you know where I'm trying to come from... click here.
thanks, *e

The new moon in Leo (09°32') is on Friday, August 1st at 3:12 AM PDT. Pace yourself. (Or not!) Lots of summertime left!

Aries: Ah, satisfaction is sweet! This new moon wants you to sit back and appreciate the result of some sustained patient effort. (A brief pause in your headlong drive.) Something you’ve been nurturing a while. Congratulate yourself on your commitment and accomplishments thus far and then consider carefully the next few steps since it’s not quite ready yet. It’s nice so far though, isn’t it? How can it be refined? What would make it even better? More enjoyable? There’s a finishing touch that will really fulfill your vision and possibly earn you the acknowledgement and admiration you’ve been hoping for.

Taurus: Looking good, Taurus! Very good. You’ve been making tough decisions, but the there’s no arguing with the results. Now is the time to really consider your creative vision and not to compromise it for anyone. There is something you’d really like to try. Something new? Try writing it down. Just to give it form. Then share it, later, with someone you trust. See what they have to say or what they may have to contribute. It’s still your vision, but I think others would like to see it too. Makes it more real. There’s no hurry. Take your time. Hide out at home for now. You’ll know when it’s ready to take flight.

Gemini: This is not a time for indecision and over thinking, but a time to sit and be in the wisdom of your experience. What have you learned so far Gemini? Try not to be distracted by other people and their opinions just now. Write down seven things you know for sure. Things you don’t bother to flip flop over anymore. It’s time for a little discipline and an assessment of your own research. A time will come when you will really have to stand by what you say. You have the knowledge to back it up. Do what you need to feel super confident about it. It involves being flexible, but firm, and doing your homework.

Cancer: Home is where the heart is. No matter how much fun the great big world has to offer. There is no place like home. Every cliché about home seems to apply to you. No matter where the moon is. It goes without saying. This new moon is beckoning you to deal with the material world and home, for you, is likely a good place to start. But only to start. You’ve got some twitchy feet. Places to go. The summer is presenting you with new goals, new enthusiasm, some destination. And it feels right. There’s always risk with change, but you’re too smart to do something unless it makes perfect sense. Your body knows. Trust your instincts. Listen. You hear them best at home, in bed even. When you’re ready, put yourself out there. Full gallop.

Leo: Ta da! Finally. It’s your season. Fuddy-duddy Saturn has rolled on and you’re feeling refreshed. Stronger than ever. New and improved. You were already pretty great. But who’s to argue with better? More refined? More intelligent? This new moon is yours to cultivate that strength with gentle courage. Something quiet. You don’t have to stay quiet, but for now, let’s work on a combination of determination and subtlety. Plenty of time to outshine the sun later. Just don’t want you burning out, losing perspective, or getting cranky. We need you to show everyone else exactly how true sustained brilliance is done. No problem.

Virgo: Whoa. Zen much? A lot going on for you, I’m guessing. Your intuition is right, if it’s telling you to hide out, hole up, do that hermit thing you do. Nothing to be ashamed of. Chances are good that the world demands much from you right now, but you need to recharge that inner source that supplies your incredible capacity to give. Don’t lose that light. So do what you need to do to get some peace and quiet. Your precious alone time. You’ve earned it. You are earning it. All this action in Leo is really lighting up something that you might only be able to see with your eyes closed. Let everyone know you’ll get back to them later. And take your time.

Libra: Looking around, are things the way you expected? Not exactly. Knowing you, they’re still pretty damn good, but something you had hoped for got lost along the way. Every week it seems there’s some astrological sign I’m supposed to remind to cry a little. (Or a lot. Up to you.) Sorry, sweet Libra, it’s your turn. You are so good at seeing the positive and sharing the positive. Intellectualizing loss and change. Moving forward. Being the best friend to others. But let’s tend to your own tender heart this new moon. You’re feelings don’t need to be reasonable or justified. Letters you never have to send. But write it out anyway. Sprinkle them with magic tears and burn them in a sacred fire. Something is exhausted and needs to be acknowledged and released. Good things always follow. Especially you.

Scorpio: Go! Don’t stop. Go! Don’t look back. Go! No rest. No waiting. No mulling it over. If you were stuck before, you’re not anymore. Something’s clicked. This is a rare opportunity, the opportunity, for a too oft stuck in the mud Scorpio. Do not let it pass you by. Please! Go! Between now and your birthday, you could get a whole hell of a lot done. Don’t question it. Don’t feel it out. You’ve done all that already. That's mostly what you've been doing. You know what the goal is, what purpose it serves. All this Leo-ness is lighting up your big ambitions. It does not get any clearer. You know how to get there. You know! Go! Now! While the wind has your back. It’s makes the ride all the smoother. Go. Enjoy it.

Sagittarius: You wear responsibility so well. Who knew the weight of the world could be kind of enjoyable. We wouldn’t be counting on you quite so much, if we didn’t want you to, need you to, brand our lives with your special flare of for fun, fabulousness, and frank truths. A lot is resting on those lovely shoulders and you make it look effortless. Pluto’s been cramping your style for more than a decade. Not that it shows. We'd never guess. You handle adversity with little complaint and surprising cheer. But you’ve been bearing the brunt of some powerfully deep soul mutations for more than a decade! You’re about to graduate, Sagittarius. The results are going to be stunning, I suspect. Hold your ground and attend to your empire. Where to from here? Pluto moves 'round your next birthday. It's not too early to start planning a celebration. Might help take the edge off when its rough.

Capricorn: Jeez! You are an unstoppable force. This summer, your plate is full! And you like it. No need to rein it in. So long as you’ve got good hold of the reins. Fly if you want to. Just don’t fly off. That checking-in stuff I mentioned up above applies to you too, but you’ll manage it on the run, I think. It just doesn’t make sense to tell you to sit quietly. Jupiter shines upon you, inviting you to expand all of your possibilities. It’s been retrograde since April, but moves direct on August 7th. Unless they’re along for the ride, best remind everyone (politely) to get out of your way. You’re so inspired you sparkle. Prepare for the kind of luck you're looking for. It looking for you too.

Aquarius: Cool and comfortable. That’s how I see you Aquarius. Folks may be easily carried away by summer madness, but you are keeping it real while still making the most of the lovely season. Grounded. Generous. Companionable. Homemade. Neighborly. I keep going on about that sort of secret something your hatching. You’ve been so patient, I’m losing patience! But you’re confident that all things will reveal themselves in their right time. There’s no hurry. Don’t be surprised if many turn to you for friendship. Your solid insight and good humor will benefit others. This new moon may invite new or renewed romance... Careful what you wish for!

Pisces: A lot of horoscope writing is giving permission for the obvious. It's helpful. To you, wonderful Pisces, I give permission to be a Pisces. You’re free! Unbounded. Hardly embodied. Everywhere and nowhere. Wherever. You pretend often for the sake of others, to be holding it all together, like the rest of us, to join us. Right, now, you don’t need to. The best part is, no one will notice. In fact, they’ll love you all the more for being your intuitive, irrational, oceanic, dreamy, brilliant, strange, fluctuating, ultra sensitive, gorgeously responsive, dumb luck, fishy self. You'll find a wonderful strength and integrity to be admired in that too. Be emotional. You’re not going to lose yourself, but gain yourself, in letting go. In case of emergency, your beauty is your best defense. We are powerless against it.

* ** ***
Like the horoscopes? Need some more perspective? There is definitely a bigger picture. Elizabeth Travelslight has been studying tarot and astrology for over ten years! Individual tarot and astrology consultations are available. (They make great gifts too!) Contact Elizabeth at etravelslight@gmail.com or check out



The militant of a truth is not only the political militant working for the emancipation of humanity in its entirety. He or she is also the artist creator, the scientist who opens up a new theoretical field, or the lover whose world is enchanted.
-Alain Badiou


Cixous! Cixous! Cixous!

Writing: as if I had the urge to go on enjoying, to feel full, to push, to feel the force of my muscles, and my harmony, to be pregnant and at the same time to give myself the joys of parturition, the joys of both the mother and the child. To give birth to myself and to nurse myself, too. Life summons life. Pleasure seeks renewal.
-Hélène Cixous


Big Pictures

Brightnesses, Densities, Comparisons

The Earth at Night:

Global Population Density:

(Click the images to see 'em bigger.)


poetry moment...


Your hair waves once more when I weep. With the blue of your eyes
you lay the table of love: a bed between summer and autumn.
We drink what somebody brewed, neither I nor you nor a third:
we lap up some empty and last thing.

We watch ourselves in the deep sea's mirrors and faster pass
food to the other:
the night is the night, it begins with the morning,
beside you it lays me down.

-Paul Celan


Your Capricorn Full Moon Horoscope

I just have to say that the Cancer/Capricorn full moon is one of my all time favorites– the absolute heights of summer time. Everything just seems to hum with enjoyment. Seems like everywhere I turn, it’s good food, good friends, good music. Jupiter, hanging big and bright right next to the moon on Thursday night adds further pleasure and indulgence to the summer festivities. We're fat with the good life! Feels like endless summer 2008. Anyone going on a trip? Venus stepping out into Leo certainly doesn’t hurt either. Me-ow! And purrrrrrrr... Here kitty- kitty! Should help take the edge off Mars and Saturn in Virgo, making things not only focused, practical, determined and bull-sh*t free (Out of the way with that yucky funk!), but eagerly romantic too. Win-win. Now might be a good time for everyone to update their wardrobe– just a little something to match your great ambitions– the ones that serve you and those around you... We're all gonna be putting ourselves out there. Best foot forward, folks. Why not?

Again, all my heart feelings, *elizabeth**

The full moon in Capricorn (28°04') is on Friday, July 18th at 12:59 AM PDT. Look up on Thursday night!

Aries: Maybe it’s that Venus in Leo but you are suddenly in the mood for love. The really watery, soul kind. It’s coming across as brave and uncontainable and drawing all kinds of people to you, possibly, but not limited to, a special someone. Look to this full moon for career inspiration and insight into home. You have so much to give and the will to give it. Where will you go from here? Some place with swimming, maybe.

Taurus: Full moon is drawing your attentions inward. Time to think a few things over. Review the last three months at least. Lick wounds and try to put things in place, a rearrangement that you can live with and lets you move on. Don’t get stuck. Think in a way that brings you peace and moves you forward. You know when you’re spinning the same old wheels. It makes you tired and that’s not right. Ponder thoughts with traction.

Gemini: How many pennies you got there, butterfly? Don’t let your finances weigh you down. All the riches in the world are no good if you don’t feel free. So how do you handle your finances in a way that is liberating? Without calling your survival into question? Think flow, gardens, and investment. The full moon is showing you your heart's desire and seems like you’ve got the resources to make it happen. No doubt, you doubt. It’s your nature. But big magic means big decisions and you’ve been thinking bigger than ever. Place your bets, make your play, and don’t look back.

Cancer: Goodness! What a whirlwind you’ve been. Thanks. I want you to imagine this full moon opening up right inside your head/heart. Your dance card fills up fast, but you’ll get a lot out of just a few moments of quality alone time. Get in touch with your inner resources. Clean house (metaphorical and literal) and recharge. Bit more summer left. Don’t want you burning out on us. So make sure you’re taking care of you, too.

Leo: So much to do, you. Enough, it seems, for several lifetimes. There is no apparent reason to rein it in. Go on then. Throw yourself out there. Full gallop. I seriously doubt there is anything you can’t handle right now. You’re accessing even deeper (higher?) sources of inspiration. It’s like a brand new world/you. Take care of your health, listen to your body, and you’ll been unstoppable for weeks. No one can resist you. Careful.

Virgo: You know Saturn is in your sign ‘til July 2010, right? Try not to look so excited. More than any other sign, you’ll not only get a lot out of this often difficult transit, you might kind of enjoy it. Oooh discipline! You know that the difficult paths can be the most rewarding. You relish the challenge. How much can you take? Look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. You are capable of incredible service and sacrifice, BUT we can’t have you losing yourself in the process. You’re contributions will be greatest if you can manage equal portions of devotion to yourself and everyone else. You first. Got it?

Libra: Write much? Blogging? TV Show? Some way, some how, your message needs to get out there. The things you have to say are exactly the things that need to be heard. Try it. There is little need for self-doubt or self-censorship. You’re too good of a communicator. Even when you’re worried that you’ve said the wrong thing, know you’ve said the right thing– so long as it’s your truth. You’ve gotten strong this summer. Say what you feel and stand up for your beliefs. Wisdom has your back.

Scorpio: I know. You’re having a good time too. Who isn’t? And when those around you are feeling it, it just frees you up to feel even more. You’re open and sensitive, without the dangerously vulnerable defensive part. It’s the season. I don’t want to break your stride, so try not to be distracted by what I’m about to say. Let’s consider the winter and where you see yourself 6 months from now. It has everything to do with where you are now. When things start to feel chaotic this summer and this delicious wave starts to break up a bit, focus on your goals for the winter. What’s important should become clear. Endless summer is just a reminder to appreciate the moment as fully as possible.

Sagittarius: If you’re feeling particularly in charge– it’s because you are. Keep speaking your mind. Don’t hold that brilliance back. It takes some courage, but if you encounter criticism, you’ve got the chops to hold your own. You’re independent, resourceful, gorgeous, and whip crackin’ smart– sharp enough right now to really do some damage, even. Try to let that higher mind guide you and make sure you’re getting adequate support and generous outlets for your enormous powers of persuasion. Anything that denies you your fullest self-expression needs to be addressed. You’re in charge. Doesn’t mean you can’t compromise. Just means you don’t have to. You’re enough. Know what I mean?

Capricorn: This full moon shines upon you, especially. See how well you can relax and really get a sense of what supports you. It will make everything feel more generous. Let love and enjoyment guide you. Plenty of time to get the work work done later. Sure it's important, but yesterday was just not a realistic deadline anyway. Certainly do what needs to be done. But what absolutely needs to be done might not be what you think it is. It involves communication, celebration, and a few (3?) closest to you. Maybe some wine. Invite the moon light into your home. Look around and be thankful. Cheers!

Aquarius: Pow! So much light. So much solar heat. The summer is often about seemingly unstoppable forces. Right now, you are the queen of them all. (Dear Aquarius, you’re thinking is sufficiently advanced, that even if you don’t identify as a woman, I know you recognize a queen in you still.) Rule your lands with care and enthusiasm. You’re a vision of strength and compassion, joy and unlimited potential. No doubts. Don’t let a short temper keep you from staying above petty conflict. Save that temper for the real battle. Social change! Justice! A better world! The FUTURE! It’s all about the big picture and your rightful place within it. Don’t sell yourself short.

Pisces: Life is good! Let it be good. I’m sure if you put your mind to it, you could turn up something to brood about. But this moon is all about a focus on the positive. There’s plenty of that too. You’ve made some kind of break through. Remember those tears we talked about? You’re on the other side of them now. Enjoy everything. As much as possible. Find a way to play and people to play with. Play. Not duty. Play is your duty. Even if you have to sneak it in at work. Laugh and listen closely to the sound. Try to laugh a little longer than you think you should. It’s good for those around you too. It ripples right around the earth even. The kids especially appreciate it.


Surprise Music Review! Top Critters

I'm not sure I'm remotely qualified to be writing music reviews. I'm not a musician. Nor what I consider to be a particularly critical listener. My ear is rather underdeveloped compared to the many more musical around me. My experience of music is pretty raw and uneducated. I'm not an insider by any stretch of the term. So take my amateur hack opinions for what they're worth. Anything with a danceable beat pretty much goes straight to my butt. Anything else that's going to move me, either has to hit me on a visceral, emotional level that I don't consciously understand but find myself responding to regardless and/or have some bright insightful lyrics that really light up my imagination. Between work, family, school- I hardly have any time to attend shows. I only really try to make it out for bands I already know I love, so it is increasingly rare for me to encounter new live music that really thrills me. But...

Just my luck! Last night at the Balazo Gallery in a surprise birthday party line up for Citizen Hero guitar player Jason Coffey, I heard the Top Critters play for my first time ever and could not have been more pleasantly surprised. In truth, I kind of geeked out on them. It's so seldom that I randomly come across a band that I really like– and I really f*cking adored them. They're a five piece instrumental band, no vocalist- but Phil Dumesnil, taking bow to banjo or hugging that accordian, makes them sing just as sweet. Between him and Asa Sanchez on the organ/piano, they don't need a vocalist.

Their sound is achingly melodic, a whole range of sentiments pouring out, rich, nostalgic, haunting- but not too sad, orchestral, playful, and at times even slightly suggesting some whispers of industrial noisy compassion. Maybe? There's an unexpectedly cool folky lightness achieved in the rhythm and melodies when combined with a pervasive density that seems inevitably urban, a little tough and gently crushing, night lit, and contemporary. Something like that? Anyway, my kind of shit to a T. Like I said, I geeked out. The musicians filled the space beautifully, a kind of rare "just-so" gig, with tripping melodies, uncountable humming strings, and well laced, gorgeously executed rhythms from Andy Pitman on the bass and the-future's-so-bright Chris Gonzales inhabiting the drums. I love an amplified acoustic guitar in the hands of a loving guitarist. Mike Dineen did not disappoint. Top Critters were deliciously loud and the levels were clear, allowing the resonance to just fill me to the brim, worry free, and carry my rather heavily stoned spirit away. Between all the punk and hip hop that predominates most of the accidental live music I encounter, I feel sometimes like I'd give blood just hear a long thoughtful melody, just for the sake of long thoughtful melodies.

The folk instruments tap freely into all that american traditional stuff, but Top Critters innovates those sounds into incredibly creative, ardent explorations. It's unashamedly pretty and very smart. They've been together in various combinations for a couple of years. (So they say.) They sound incredibly tight, professional but effortless, not over-rehearsed, like they still genuinely listen and respond to each other when they play- in a way that suggests some musical mind melding miracle where they're just making this perfectly proportioned stuff up as they go along.

Top Critters remind me of some of my favorite amplified, heavy melody, instrumentalists but part of my geek-out factor was how uniquely they pull their own compositions together. For the sake of references (which I draw from a pretty limited pool), I'll say a little Tortoise, El Ten Eleven, the more acoustic/melodic moments of Yo La Tengo, and maybe you caught the Clark Brothers winning last season's contest of "The Next Great American Band" ? They remind my much more musically wired boyfriend of "Mogwai with a hint Secret Chiefs Three style melodies." In addition, they were very nice guys. They took my unexpectedly gushing geek-out fandom in stride, justifiably proud, but blushing and unassumingly modest.

The Balazo was a perfectly sized venue, all dark with warm dreamy lightings, and a perfectly sized, unsuspecting, happily gathered together, crowd. The staff there were super kind, laid back but in charge, and my $6 mojito was the best I've had in many a moon.

DUDE!– and they play TONIGHT!
7PM @ Thrillhouse Records
3422 Mission Street, SF. All Ages. Admission by donations.

Score! Top Critters downloads available on their MySpace...
Hear them for yourself!

Top Critters are: Mike Dineen - acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar (ex-M.D. 20/20, ex-Smirk). Phil Dumesnil - accordian, banjo, slide whistle (Foibles, Best Pals). Chris Gonzales - percussion (Gargantula, Gibbs, ex-Comets on Fire). Andy Pitman - bass (Tall Can, Manger), Asa Sanchez - organ/piano (ex-Smote the Giant), Lee Tom - TBA (ex-M.D. 20/20, Gibbs).


Precarious Life

"The body implies mortality, vulnerability, agency: the skin and flesh expose us to the gaze of others, but also to touch, and to violence, and bodies put us at risk of becoming the agency and instrument of all of these as well. Although we struggle for rights over our own bodies, the very bodies for which we struggle are not quite ever only our own. The body has its invariably public dimension. Constituted as a social phenomenon in the public sphere, my body is and is not mine. Given over from the start to the world of others, it bears their imprint, is formed within the crucible of social life; only later, and with some uncertainty, do I lay claim to my body as my own, if, in fact, I ever do. Indeed, if I deny that prior to the formation of my 'will,' my body related me to others whom I did not choose to have in proximity to myself, if I build a notion of 'autonomy' on the basis of the denial of this sphere of a primary and unwilled physical proximity with others, then am I denying the social conditions of my embodiment in the name of autonomy."
-Judith Butler, Precarious Life


Only Children Only

It's difficult, maybe futile at times, to tease out what behaviors and personality quirks are caused exactly by what. Formed by countless, obvious and subtle occurrences, prenatal givens, singular events, and continuous repetitions, we're a mix, a montage, a mash-up– works in progress. Only children are like everybody else. Birth rolls you a lot in life and you make do with what you get, test and improvise the rest, and hopefully continue to arrive at more than merely satisfactory results.

The skills, habits, and ticks that children develop in childhood as a consequence of their family structures obviously run deep. They form the literally innate patterns upon which all subsequent patterns are designed. This is why the shrink would like you to talk about your childhood, right? So, I am comfortable with the idea that being an only child plays a significant and often subconscious part in how I orient myself in the world, what I easily know, and what I need to try to unknow. As I get older, I more easily recognize "only children" in other adults. I see it, respect it, and I totally relate.

What I relate to in other adult only children is way cooler and beyond the frequently deployed grass-is-greener accusations of selfish, spoiled, or self-centered. The whole terrain of psychology, birth order, childhood development, personality, stereotypes, etc. is shifty business. It involves broad generalizations and inherently frequent exceptions which quickly devolves into a collapsed system of accusations and defensiveness. Not really the game I am interested in. Neuroses and bad habits are a buffet. Take your pick, help yourself– siblings or none. I'm more into honest accounting and generous assessments, with myself and others, a simple relaxed comfort in gently deepening my under-standings, welcoming the skin I'm in, the world we're in, and the woman I hope to become.

What I love about only children is the unique depth and sturdiness of our self-sufficiency, the intricately refined intelligence of our oh-so-remote little worlds, and the hilariously sensitive intensities upon which we develop and maintain our relationships. Other people and social interaction are necessary options, welcome, valued– but not an always agreeable norm. I easily default toward the consistency and comfort of solitude, my own reliable company. I crave companionship and demand privacy in mixed and sometimes unpredictable portions. My middle grounds, for better or worse, do not come very wide. Cat-like, I love attention, but only when I want attention and often I do not. But when I want attention, yes, I love attention! Only children develop a very low tolerance for boredom and have little patience for pretending something interests them when it does not. However, they have a way of holding their heads and attending to what does interests them, focused, deliberate, and self-assured, with complete attention, fully present and utterly receptive, vulnerably pressed right up against the very surface limits of themselves, senses open– but ready to turn and shut the doors with hardly a moments notice. When we are involved we involve ourselves whole heartedly. We adore with confidence and commitment, compassion and genuine enthusiasm. And of course, if something goes wrong, it is most certainly our fault, so we are very good at accepting responsibility for every event gone wrong, big or small.

I've loved it. I've hated it. I live with it. Still I have so much to learn from it. More often, I just want to laugh about it! train mama makes me laugh...