Friday, December 31, 2004

December 2004

Well, here it is a fresh new year and all that; Hogswatch is over, the carols have been sung, the drinks have been drunk, the drunks have been put in the woodshed to sober up, and all is shiny and promising. Oh, wait, that's just the scumble afterglow. Ah well, time to pull your socks up (if you wear socks) and face the year with fortitude. And health drinks. And of course, a shiny new horoscope...

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

The time has come for a change in your life. A big change. A really, really big change. Have you ever considered moving continents? No, not actually moving continents - after all, that's a job for the gods - but packing your bags and saying goodbye to your friends and family and setting off for a new life in Brindisi or Howondaland or Agatea or even the mysterious land of XXXX. Well, my dears, now is the best time to do it, if you're ever going to. Think about it - do you truly want to die without being able to say you've seen the mountains of the History Monks, or without ever having bathed in the lost springs of youth in Tezuma? Not that I'm suggesting you're about to die, but, um, do remember to buy travel inn-sewer-ants.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Communications, that's the key. Gahooligans are great communicators, just look at all those educators, priests and salesmen of genuine pig products, and a new year brings new opportunities to investigate new forms of communication. In fact, don't just investigate - invest! The newly renovated Grand Trunk clacks network is growing by the day, and gives a great return for A-M dollar investments. Who knows, you could make your millions, retire early, and go chase that nice Quirmian girl Hogger who decided to heed her horoscope and now lives in Bes Pelargic! Alternatively, you could become a mime, but the return for your investment tends to involve scorpions.

The Two Fat Cousins 22 May - 21 Jun

This is a good month to consider a career in couture. After all, in this modern age, there are so many styles to pick and choose from, whether severe schoolmistress outfits, the Gothique look, long rustic dresses with enormous boots, or the kind of clothing that might get you cautioned by the Watch if you wear it on the wrong street corners. Fashion is an exciting and ever-changing field, and with the continuing rise of the merchant classes, you could turn a pretty penny. I mean, how much does it take to convince an awkward, social-climbing cabbage distributor's wife that she really would look delicious in pink tulle and a rubber apron? - or a burnous and waders? And you'll never be short of a labour pool; look how many seamstresses there are, walking the streets looking for work!

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Sing ho for the wonders of the kitchen! The first month of any year tends to be boring and dreary and full of holiday leftovers; why not start it off by taking a cookery course, or opening a Forn food restaurant? Klatchian curries are already well known and feared, but think of the possibilities: you could become a squishi chef, or a Genuan gumbo specialist, or a maker of fine Lancre-style cheeses; you could amaze your friends with your new-found expertise at making traditional Uberwald goulashes and fatsup; you could even ~cough cough~ spice up your home life by mastering every recipe in Nanny Ogg's famous cookbook! Or go cosmopolitan and open an open-air
Brindisian style café. Call it Café Olé. You know it makes sense.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

The doing of charitable works should be your project for the new year. And there are so many charitable works you could participate in! Collecting funds, nearly new bandages and freshly discarded body parts for the Lady Sybil Free Hospital...teaching apprentice witches how to make a good shamble (for the purpose of public security)...counselling depressed Fools (and there's an endless supply of those)...joining the Beautify Ankh-Morpork Campaign (the Brass Bridge really could do with a new coat of brass)...running a language course for newly arrived Agatean tourists...let your imagination run free! It will make you feel good about yourself. And distract you from the ravages of those unspeakable holiday hangovers. Oh wait, you have those every weekend, don't you.

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

War! What is it good for? Well, for a start, it's good to study. You can learn so much about human nature - or troll, dwarf or creature-of-the-night nature - from the study of government approved violence...perhaps even learn how to stop wars from happening. Alternatively, you could study the history of weaponry and make a packet by entering the munitions trade. Or become an illicit crossbow runner. Or, for those of you of an Auriental bent, master an obscure martial art
(note spelling). See? - war is good for quite a lot. If you want to start small, why not plan and initiate a vendetta with her at No. 18 about those ghastly encroaching flower beds? I'm sure your prize Llamedosian Crossbrained Retriever could be a big help.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

The world of collecting is heart-stoppingly exciting! Why not start your new year by taking up this beguiling pastime? Here are a few helpful suggestions for things to collect, to polish and display and cherish and rattle on interminably about. You could take up collecting: coproliths from various fascinating species...fine art and small clear bags of powdered mothballs...humorously shaped vegetables...stamps of the world (taking care to hermetically seal
the limited-edition Quirm cabbage ones)...socks...icons of small gods...blood samples (not recommended for Black Ribboners)...those black and yellow cart-wheel clamps that are all the rage in the cities now...just don't bother collecting pins. Pins are so yesterday.

Okjok, the Salesman 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Take Art into your life this year! Embrace it! Ponder (not Stibbons) the interplay of light and shadow with an iconographer's eye (not one borrowed from an Igor). Design creative battle breads with an innovative use of gravel textures. Work out exciting new cross-stitch and knitting patterns for those normally boring scabbards and throwing-knife sheaths. Experiment with new alloys to create unique stud patterns on your leather Music With Rocks In robe. No, not
that kind of stud, especially if you're a wizard. Oh dear. Um, where was I? Oh yes. Art can be found in Nature as well - Llamedosian Okjokers might enjoy seeking and harvesting previously-unquarried henges and monoliths, and those of the trollish persuasion could practice painting graffiti tags on Old Granddad. I don't know Art but I know what you'll like.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Science. Does the word frighten you? It's time you left your fears behind and learned about the world around you and what makes it tick. There's dendrochronology, the science of determining the age of ooograh; geology, the science of determining the age and origin of submontane fat deposits; alchemy, the science of determining how to become a literal rocket wizard; biology, the science of investigating the origins of pencil bushes and orangutans; cosmology, the study of very large turtles; ballistics, the study of the trajectories of extremely fast-moving wizards powered by Agatean technology (or by pure terror); and of course the emperor of all sciences, thaumology. Do be sure to practise safety in the laboratory, especially if you're taking up one of the more... pyrotechnic branches; sometimes blinding people with science isn't such a good idea.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

I'd recommend a career in politics starting this year, but I see that so many of you Hokians already have one. For those who don't, politics - an branch of the ancient game of Watching People Over The Garden Gate And Interfering In their Lives - can be a rewarding lifestyle choice (I hear the kickbacks in Bhangbhangduc are particularly gratifying). The study and practice of politics can keep you occupied for years, often in a dungeon cell. And the ballot-paper ceiling isn't so tough - who knows, if you apply yourself properly you might end up rising to the highest position in the land, or even to Grand Vizierhood, which is less public and involves a lot of
stress-relieving evil cackling. You too could rule with an iron hand! Just don't let Lord Vetinari or Emperor Cohen catch you thinking about it.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Happy new year! Romance is in the air - though it's always in the air for some of you Gazundians and it's positively magical. But did you know that there's an art and science to romance also? - pipe down, Mister Casanunda, of course I'm not trying to teach you to suck eggs. Yes, eggs, we're certainly not going to think of sucking anything else here, this is a family horoscope I'll have you know...anyway, for the rest of you, the mysterious rites of courtship make a good study-project for the year. There's bouquet-arranging, and the writing of coy little love-notes; there's the planning of romantic dinners à deux - you can pick up tips from Staffy cookery students - and the nuances of scene-setting and coquettish small talk; there's the best and most dashing methods of carrying your most-wanted across the threshold, and then the best way to achieve, um, yes. Romance is back in fashion. Enjoy it.

The Flying Moose 19 Feb - 20 Mar

The Moose may be the traditional sign of surgeons, but how many of you really know anything about doctor-ing? It's not all leeches and trepanning and sulphur ointment, you know. This year it would do you good to brush up on medical knowledge - can you put your hands on your heart(s) and honestly state that the Isles of Langerhans aren't actually a cool holiday destination off the coast of Klatch? - or participate in experiments to push back the boundaries of modern medicine. You could steal and examine a Boring'un's collection of blood samples, or measure blood-pressure changes over time by observing prisoners hanging upside-down in the Patrician's scorpion pit, or become a grave robber and assemble and revivify your own...erm, let's not go there. You probably don't want to start the year running one step ahead of a forest of angrily wielded pitchforks.