By Ron Donoho
Haeckel appears nude in a 2013 wall calendar titled "Snaked," ("snake" and "naked"). Purchase a copy at O.B. Massage (4810 Santa Monica Ave., Ocean Beach) or Namaste Yoga Studio (4893 Voltaire St., Ste. B, Ocean Beach).
The Chinese New Year begins on February 10, and to help celebrate the Year of the Snake, yoga instructor Elka Haeckel literally curled up with one of the namesake reptiles.
Yoga with snakes isn't a common practice for the former owner of the Ocean Beach Namaste Yoga Center. Haeckel is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor, with additional certifications in several other styles.
"We can't lie to ourselves on the yoga mat," she believes. "Our body will always tell us our truth." And like the rest of us, Haeckel hopes the 2013 Year of the Snake will bring good fortune.
What do the fortunetellers say? Predictions are all over the place. But according to Travelchinaguide.com: "Financial fortune will come in the second half of the year...Singles will evolve their relationships in 2013...Relationships will thrive, but married folks will need to take special care not to stray." In other words, keep your snake in your pants.
In the United States, we drop our balls to celebrate the New Year every January 1. The Chinese New Year always starts on a different day of the Western calendar. Ancient Chinese secret? Nope, their lunar- based system tracks the dawn of a new moon.
There are 12 animals in the Chinese New Year pantheon. February 10 marks the beginning of the Year of the Snake.
The downtown San Diego Chinese Center will hold a New Year Food and Cultural Fair on February 16 and 17 (10 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day).
If you're anxious about the cycle, 2014 brings the Year of the Horse, followed by the Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit and Dragon. So snake 'em if you got 'em - we won't see another Year of the Snake until 2026.
(Famous folks born under the Snake sign: Oprah Winfrey, Abraham Lincoln and Martha Stewart.)
If A Snake Rattles, You Roll
There are 33 native snake species slithering around San Diego, according to a company called Southern California Snake Removal Inc. Of those species, six are venomous; most are rattlers. The ones to avoid are:
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Red Diamondback Rattlesnake
Southern Pacific Rattlesnake
Mojave Green Rattlesnake
Mojave Green X Southern Pacific Hybrid Rattlesnake (relatively new)