I've been projectless too long. I've done some little things, but I haven't taken up a new discipline or performed a major contortion in an existing one for too long.

I'm buying a house and a car and generally rearranging my life right now, obviously what I need is something major to distract me from it, something at a fever pace, but something I can mostly do. I'm pondering the possibilities...

When I was in junior high, first learning algebra, we learned the laborious rules where you add a three to both sides, or multiply the whole thing by seven, or distributed the "times four" to both sides of the sum in parentheses.

And we went through class exercises to remember them. One day we'd spend the whole time solving equations where you needed to subtract a number from each side to get the answer, the next day one where you had to multiply. Several weeks after that you had to put everything on one side of the equation and then use the quadratic formula.

And after learning enough of these things, I found them happening automatically. I'd copy the equation onto my paper and find that before I was even paying attention to it, I'd subtracted off the extra six, divided both sides by two and there was the answer. When it first happened, it was like magic -- I wasn't thinking about it, my pencil just kept moving until the answer popped out.

"Here's a list of the raw materials that could soon prove surprisingly valuable: glop, slop, slush, scum, slime, muck, bilge, grime, and scuzz. Believe it or not, Gemini, stuff like this is likely to contain hidden gems. I hope you can overcome any squeamishness you might have about diving in head first and rooting around for the buried bounty. Halloween costume suggestions: toxic waste disposal engineer, sexy maid or suave garbage man, wizard or priestess working undercover as a janitor."

Excellent. Timely. Oddly reassuring. We'll see how it goes.