The Stars over the Hudson Valley

If you’ve known me for a few years, especially in person, you may be familiar with a monthly habit that I have. And no, I don’t mean my time of the month habits… I mean the habit that I have had since 2015, on the first of every month.

Monthly Horoscope Readings!

I live in the Hudson Valley. It’s New York, USA’s most reputable river valley and has been home to many of the country’s greats: Jimmy Fallon, Billy Joel, FDR, Willem DeFoe, Liam Neeson, Emma Roberts, and maybe even Snooki in addition to so many more. I don’t know about them, but living here makes me a little more interested in reading local publications. One such publication, which I’ve been reading since 2015 is Chronogram.

Chronogram is a culture, news, art, etc. magazine that comes out once a month. In the summer of 2015, I was introduced to it through it’s groundbreaking horoscopes section. My good friend Elizabeth and I, at the time, travelled the Hudson Valley working as canvassers for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), trying to save the environment, we enjoyed stopping at local, organic, and vegan cafes around the region for our lunches.

We weren’t alone, as our team at any time consisted of two or three other people about our age, so we would sit at a table together and read our horoscopes aloud.

They were ALWAYS on point and breathtaking.

Up until recently, June, the horoscopes were written by Planet Waves’ Eric Francis Coppolino. (Planet Waves, not to be confused with the album by Bob Dylan, another prominent figure of the Hudson Valley.)

Coppolino wrote brilliantly about the stars, moons, and planets, and how they interacted with each constellation of the zodiac. Every. Single. Time. We would read those horoscopes aloud, each one had it’s own weight in each of our chests. They spoke directly to our own experiences and feelings either at the time that we were reading them, or sometime down the road during the month.

They became a ritual for reflection, not only for myself, yet, very likely, many others. And while it was possible to reflect over the words being viewed on a screen, there really is nothing like feeling the large pages of a magazine, and reading them, and keeping them chronologically on a shelf for later annual reflection.

What happened in June?

That’s the question now, isn’t it? In June, Eric Francis Coppolino fell off the Chronogram map. Not on pages, as far as I could tell online, I had to turn to other methods of monthly horoscope such as Horoscope.com or Astrosofa. While these were wonderful, they certainly didn’t have the power in their words that Coppolino had in his.

This month, August 2018, a new writer has taken up the mantle left by Coppolino in Chronogram: Lorelai Kude. With her, less artistic representations of the twelve signs have also been installed. Read your horoscope in Chronogram here.

We’ll have to investigate further for next month’s post, what happened to Coppolino and why the post was left vacant by the writer.

Criticisms


Planet Waves

While you can sign up for Planet Waves’ newsletter, read the weekly and monthlies online, and maybe even still read some of Coppolino’s work in other publications such as the Daily News, Marie Claire, Harper’s BAZAAR, and others, there’s still something missing when it no longer appears in local print. The feeling simply isn’t the same.

Chronogram

Although it’s a really great thing to have someone back in the horo-sattle, I’m not impressed with the work of Kude. In comparison there’s a lot to be desired — call me spoiled by Coppolino.

For instance, my horoscope begins cute: “Fun fact: Virgo is the largest constellation of the zodiac, and the second-largest (next to Hydra) constellation in the Milky Way galaxy!” By the end however, it feels as if you’ve been listed at. It’s not so much cold and calculating as it is a drag in comparison to the almost personal style of Coppolino, that felt as if he knew more about you than sometimes you did. It’s scientific to the point of boring. There’s no story that goes with it suggesting more of a scientific approach and less of a writer’s touch out drawing out a reader’s interest.

After looking at other horoscopes, it’s possible that, after this or next month’s, readers may start losing intrigue and yearning for their Chronogram horoscopes. Readers want the story of their lives, not recommendations or matter-of-fact advice from their horoscopes. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed in groups, with friends, and in myself.

Let me know what you think about your monthly horoscope from Chronogram in the comments!

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Losing Books is Why I’m Choosing Scribd

I love reading. One of my favorite things to do, is read several books on a subject, all at once, and take notes on their overlap and relativity. My goal with my reading like this, is something I picked up by going to college.

You’d go to class, and be expected to have read 30 pages out of five books, on one or two subjects, per class. That’s what I’m doing now. I’m building my own classes.

I start by researching the different classes in a study that I want to learn. For instance, I’m currently studying the same classes you can find syllabi online for in journalism. This means, I’m replicating assignments from home, and reading all the same books.

This also means that in between jobs, I have at one time, at least a single book on me. Here is where the title of this article comes in. I lost a book the other day.


The ImperfectionistsThe Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved the book. It’s amazing how informative novels can be. Especially on a psychological level.

I didn’t reeeeally finish the book. I lost it… But I got passed all the parts, I think, that I had wanted, and set out, to read.

I aspire to be a journalist. So I definitely add this to that shelf. A great a starter for a young self-taught journo and citizen journalists everywhere.

View all my reviews


The book was an intro to journalism and the newsroom novel. It kicked butt for how much of an easy read it was, it’s subject matter of course, the vocabulary, the characters, the smaller stories, and the way each perspective was linked together. It was a beautiful book while I had it.

Well, somewhere between having a shit day, and reading, I lost my book. I put it down. Someone recognized  for all of its glory. Whatever. The point is this: I cried.

Those tearsmeant a lot to me. I was at the end of the book. The final pages were within sight.

While,it would be tragic to lose all of my books at once, perhaps there’s something good in a Kindle Fire or something. I don’t know yet, because I’ve never tried it. Well, that time has come.

I’m going to dip my toes into e-reading. Especially as someone that’s looking at publishing an e-book or two, I figure, it’s about time that I know what the market is like.

I’m starting simple however. I’m enrolling for Scribd, and starting with Audiobooks. I’m going to finish off the hard copies in my stack of books, and then I’m going to see how many of those journalism class books I can find on there, and hopefully for free.

Stay tuned for updates!
Do you use an e-reader or Scribd? Tell me about your experience!

#MeToo

#MeToo is about to have its own section in the news portion of my website. The occurencesare far too often, and the relevance this has on myself and readers is far too great to more or less relegate it to a US & Global category. Stay tuned to see how that turns out, also there may be personal stories or graphic content: Trigger Warning.

National Get-Over-Seasonal-Depression Day

“Coincidence that National Compliment Day and National Peanut Butter Day are on the same day? I think not. May as well call today National Get-Over-Seasonal-Depression Day.”

From my personal Facebook.

Wednesday, Jan. 24, is National Peanut Butter Day and aside from the history of the day, there’s a pretty neat poll going on at Syracuse.com: Crunchy or Creamy? Which one is your dominant choice?

I personally enjoy chunky.

It’s also National Compliment Day however. Similar to World Compliment Day celebrated March 1, the United State’s holiday was started in 1998. For more about it, here’s the history.

Together the holidays at the end of January could be called National Get-Over-Seasonal-Depression Day.

During the winter months, a lot of people, maybe due to less sunshine and Vitamin D, or perhaps for other causes, feel depression. It’s also called Seasonal Affective Disorder.Counter-intuitively there’s actually less suicides in the winter than in early Spring, probably due to depressive lethargy.

Therefore not only should the date be National Get-Over-Seasonal-Depresion Day, but in fact it should be an educational holiday for getting over the disorder and staying over it, and any other instances of depression and suicidal ideation, as more active whether moves in.

I love peanut butter and I love compliments. It’s a win-win! However, these tactics may not be enough for getting out of a depressive state.

For instance, anecdotally, I was recently experiencing my own bit of depression. Not entirely due to the season, but more-so because of the state of my finances. I’m in debt and barely making it paycheck to paycheck, gig to gig, and I’m only just now getting a handle over how to not only make more money, but save more, spend less, invest better, and knock out debt.

Growing up, and especially as a confused and introspective and introverted transgender child  I attempted suicide a number of times. I’ve been taught several ways to handle that depression and the manic anxiety that it unleashes alongside suicidal ideation. Regardless, I feel like every bout with depression is a new one and learning to handle it is always a new fight, with no experience to work off of.

The best method I’ve found is not only simply feeling the emotions but to take ownership of them.

The other day my situation felt completely insurmountable, so I became depressed. I thought to myself, “I can’t hold back these tears, so I’ll give myself ten minutes to embrace them.” When ten minutes had passed, I had needed to get myself ready to go to a meeting, but I was shaking, so I poured myself a shot of liquid courage to wrap it up, and then got myself ready and set out.

I don’t recommend vodka to stop the shaking or to put a cap on the situation, but it was something that I knew would smooth over whatever was coming next. It’s important to take control over every part of your life in these situations. Not only give yourself a strict limit to tears, but also tell yourself, “Okay, that’s it, I’m done.”

Mindfulness. Is. Key.

If you’re not allergic to peanuts, there’s a great treat you can give yourself when you successfully overcome these kinds of situations. Honey Roasted Peanut Butter. YUM!

Positive reinforcement helps build better behaviors. For instance, if what you want to do is meditate to calm down, do that, and then make yourself some sweet tea or something that you like. Try to regulate this too though, because it needs to be a novelty to work.

Novelty moves the world.

It’s why we have holidays like National Compliment Day, and National Peanut Butter Day, or tomorrow’s Opposite Day. It’s the spice of life, and it’s what brands such as Taco Bell, Mountain Dew, and even Geico rely upon in order to sell more.

Treat your depression with novel methods, but always be in control. Mindfulness gives you the power that novelty bolsters but also takes away. Becuase you may not always be able to go to the park for a walk, or eat a spoonful of peanut butter, there’s only one thing, one person, who is always there: you.

And you are beautiful.