As it is our neighborhood’s trash pickup day, residents have dutifully wheeled their green (for household garbage) and brown (for yard waste) garbage cans to the curb. I walk, and keep looking around, my nose reflexively wrinkling in disgust, thinking, who hasn’t picked up their dog’s crap? I occasionally stop to check the bottom of my shoes and the tips of my Exerstrider ® walking poles, hoping I didn’t step in, uh, “anything”…
….until I realize the smell is not in fact coming from the soles of my shoes (yay!), nor from the sidewalks or gutters or streets, but from every other trashcan I walk by.
My keen sense of deductive – or is it aroma-tive? – reasoning tells me I am passing the garbage cans of dog owners, who have disposed of their Fido’s waste within.
Phew ( p.u.?) – glad to have figured that one out. I look forward to the chillier, odor-quashing mornings of autumn and winter.
I don’t get it. Smells fine to me.
* * *
Department Of By The Way
If you’re still with me, here, you just read someone’s writing about festering dog turds on a hot August morning.
And you kept reading.
I love it when she finds an excuse to use the phrase, festering turds.
* * *
Department Of Further Information On The Eclipse I Did Not Describe
The total solar eclipse I didn’t feel capable of describing was featured in last week’s post. One aspect of the experience I can describe is how much everyone in our group  enjoyed the t-shirts MH made for us, to celebrate/commemorate the occasion.
This solar sartorial satisfaction was not limited to our band of eclipse groupies. At our viewing spot (overlooking the Lake Billy Chinook Gorge), which our group shared with about 20-30 other people,  many of the hitherto-strangers-to-us approached one or all of our group and commented on how much they *loved* the elegant simplicity of the shirts’ design – who did it, and boy-howdy could we have made some money if we’d set up a roadside stand selling them, ’cause they’d seen a variety of eclipse-related souvenirs but found none of them attractive and hadn’t been tempted to get anything, and then they saw all of us, each one sporting those Fabulous Shirts ® ….
Department Of It’s A Small World In Astronomy Haute Couture
Turns out even people who weren’t even there liked the afore-mentioned shirts, thanks to social media. Our astronomer friend and trip organizer MM posted pictures of the event on his FB page, which caught the eyes of two astronomy fashion bloggers.
Yep, you read right. There is such a thing as an astronomy fashion blogger (and it’s about time, isn’t it?).
Where science meets fashion and scientists get fabulous!
Yet again, I digress. But with good reason. You really ought to check out some of the duds on their site. These Ladies of Luminosity are legit – they’ve been written up about their expectation-defying interest in promoting science-inspired style. There’s a whole cosmos o’ celestial chic out there apart from Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s vast vault of vogue vests.
So: MM contacted MH and let him know that the startorialist astronomers had noticed our group’s groovy shirts, and had asked MM for more photos and info on how you made them. Generous and Humble Citizen of the World ® that he is, MH decided to forgo the opportunity to get all exclusive-y and copyright-y and make bazillions of dollars on Etsy: he sent the startorialists more pictures, and shared his trade secrets (i.e. provided step-by-step instructions as to how he’d made the shirts), which y’all may be able to read on one of their upcoming blog posts.
* * *
Department Of Why Aren’t You Seeing This Movie?
Wind River is starkly beautiful, foreboding, poignantly distressing, lyrically blue, with unanticipated moments of dry wit/gallows humor…not sure of an adequate term for some of its droll dialogue. Superb writing and directing by Taylor Sheridan, who also gave us last year’s engrossing Hell or High Water. And it’s always nice to see the underused Canadian/First Nations actor Graham Greene in action. 
Just go see it, okay?
* * *
Department Of Passing Comments
Dateline: Sunday afternoon. MH and I driving home from our errands-running. The panhandler sat on a chair in the median by the traffic light. He was puffing away on his nicotine death stick delivery system cigarette with a laconic-yet-defiant, fuck yeah I’m gonna spend your donation on my tobacco smirk on his face.
The why-you-should-give-me-money sign he held read:
Too ugly to prostitute too honest to steal
“He forgot, ‘Too proud to beg,‘ ” MH muttered.
* * *
May your walks be perfumed by the sweetest scents nature can provide; May you always keep reading past the turd stories; May you have the opportunity to get science-fashion fabulous;  …and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Who gets to decide what is “too” warm for an Oregon morning? Ido. You didn’t get the memo?
 Sixteen total: MH, K, Belle and I, plus twelve Californians – longtime friends and their families and S.O.s (plus two dogs, which, of course, didn’t want to miss out on the eclipse action)
 Whom, we assumed, had also previously checked out likely viewing spots and decided, “This is the one!”
 What happened to all the footnotes? There should be at least five.
Department Of Can You Hear Yourself When You’re Talking? Because The Rest Of Us Can
Sometimes, during my early morning walks, I speculate about the entertainment value I provide to my neighbors, should they happen to look out their windows/step off their porches to retrieve their newspapers at the moment when moiself, reflective gloves clutching my walking poles and speaker wires dangling from earbuds to the phone in my jacket pocket, strides past their houses. Do they wonder about the middle-aged woman snorting in derision and/or motioning as if to slap one of her Exerstrider ® poles against her forehead in WTF? astonishment?
I confess to indulging in a wee bit o’ face-palming during last Friday’s walk, when I was listening to a podcast of the radio show Fresh Air, of host Terry Gross‘s recent interview (May 10) with writer/director Jill Soloway.
Soloway is best known for creating the Amazon Original TV series Transparent. The Fresh Air interview was ostensibly about Soloway’s new project, another Amazon series, the mahhhhhvelously titled, I Love Dick. 
I Love Dick is about a self-identified feminist woman, a maker of independent films, who puzzles over her attraction to Dick, a macho, swaggering, dismissive, self-absorbed artist. However, Soloway seemed determined to scurry past publicizing I Love Dick in order to promote the subject most dear to her heart: I Love Talking Dick About Myself.
Early in the interview, Terry Gross played an excerpt from the show, then questioned Soloway about how the ILD characters unintentionally skewer their own as well as the art world’s pretentious, often nonsensical,semiotics jargon-babble and aesthetic and “cultural theories,” via the dialogue Soloway writes for the show’s characters.
Terry Gross: So…do issues like “does trauma need aesthetic” and language about the materiality of death transferring to the living, does that kind of, like, cultural, aesthetic, semiotic kind of language mean anything to you?
JS…That’s funny to me ’cause I don’t even know what that means, does trauma need an aesthetic. I laugh at that joke because it’s 100 percent nonsense to me. I’m not an academic at all, so we’re just kind of, you know, splashing around in these words.
As the interview went on  it became face-palmingly hilarious to moiself how totally un-self-aware Soloway was regarding her own splashing around in a related set of these words. Solloway took every opportunity to preach use her own particular jargon-babble, re her recent embrace of a nonbinary gender queer non-femme-presenting status-life – what she described as “my own evolutions.”
…I think I’ve always had that struggle my whole life of feeling a little bit more gender neutral, feeling more comfortable as a creative person when I’m dressed like a boy – when I’m dressed more masculine.
…So if I’m working, I like to…feel kind of masculine because it makes me really focus on what I’m doing. It puts the work first, which is odd to even say that and even realize that little codes and cues – like, I don’t need to be looked at…I don’t need to be pretty – allow me to be more creative. I mean, just that sentence is totally fascinating. And I’m only realizing it right now.
…I’ve become more queer and more gender-nonconforming and basically gotten rid of everything that one would consider femme-presenting in my life.
…what I was talking about was gender dysphoria or gender fugue or something that’s very common for people who identify as nonbinary.
…So I’ve evolved a lot…. And yeah, I’m so much more comfortable now in my public presentation of myself. I never dress femme at all… I identify as queer now and nonbinary.
…And for me, having met so many nonbinary people, met so many genderqueer people and realizing that another way you can move through the world is to be neither male nor female, has been so inspiring.
Apologies for the femme-specific/binary snark.
I’m a cradle to grave feminist, appreciative of the reality of nuanced apprehensions of gender and class presentations. That said, I thought I was listening to a freshman student in a Sociology of Gender Studies class. You know the kind: an enthusiastic yet ultimately tone-deaf (despite touting her own “evolution”) intellectual neophyte whose earnest proclamations make you cringe in embarrassment for her as she prattles on without the modicum of introspection it would take for her be embarrassed for herself as she engages in the oratorical equivalent of a six-year-old waving her hand and yelling,Look at me! I’m so special! 
(Soloway) And I think my evolution became not just about being queer and not just about being a lesbian, but really being willing to look at my own gender. And identifying as genderqueer felt even more like I was getting to something….
Terry Gross, gracious interviewer that she is, jumped on the boat Soloway obviously wanted to float. When Soloway gave a specific example of one of the dilemmas her evolution/genderqueer identification hath wrought, TG offered to help role play possible responses:
Soloway: …once I start to see myself as nonbinary, if a host at a restaurant says, right this way, ladies, I just, like – I start to get really angry ’cause I’m like, I’m dressed like a man. What is making him say lady? Like, where is the lady that he sees when he’s bringing me to this table?
TG: So do you say anything to the person who’s saying, right this way, ladies? Or do you just get angry to yourself?
Soloway: …I haven’t quite figured out how to do it. Should we practice? Do you want to say – “Right this way, ladies” – and I’ll practice?
During the ensuing role-play I was disappointed that Terry Gross played it safe; i.e., that she did not reply with some version of what an actual restaurant seating host might be thinking…or of what I probably would have said, had I been given the role of the host:
I’m sorry to have inadvertently offended you. I’m just trying to do my job, which is to escort you and your friends to your table so you can have a nice meal. I didn’t know you were going to practice your dissertation on me.
* * *
Department Of Lest You Think I Did Not Enjoy The Afore-Mentioned Interview
I Love Dick.
Being reminded of the new series’ title brought back a fond memory for me – one of those , Proud Parent Moments, ® shall we say. 
Dateline: circa five or six years ago, when son K was on his high school’s Cross Country team. One day after practice the team’s coaches made an announcement to their runners: Liberty High School’s XC team was going to participate in the local Adopt-a-Road program. Seeing as how the team regularly practiced on the series of gravel roads which traversed the farm country north of the school, it was fitting that they would adopt one of them: Dick Road.
After the coaches made the announcement, K raised his hand and suggested that the XC team have custom tee-shirts made, imprinted with a slogan proclaiming their commitment to the project:
Liberty Cross Country Loves Dick
K told me he also shared his suggestion with one of the school’s track team coaches, who was a personal friend of our family, and that when he did so the coach growled, You are your mother’s son.
* * *
The Astoundingly Negligent SoCal Escrow Company I’m Not Naming
Department Of You Had One and Only One Job To Do… And You F***ed It Up
Imagine you are at a grocery store which has a curbside carry-out service.  After paying for your groceries you are given the receipt; the store employee who bagged your groceries is also given a copy of the receipt, and asks you to confirm the make and model and license plate of your car and what parking stall in the grocery pickup area you will drive to. You give this info to Grocery Bag Boy; GBB transfers your bagged groceries to a cart and begins to push the cart out to the pickup area, while you exit the store and go get your car.
When you drive you car into the designated pickup stall, there’s no sign of either Grocery Bag Boy or your groceries. After waiting five minutes you go back into the store to find out why this simple transaction is taking so long. When GBB sees you he sheepishly confesses that he went to the stall as directed, but another person claiming to be you and asking for your groceries was already there, parked in the adjoining grocery pickup stall. Although this person had no receipt for your groceries and was driving a totally different car than the one you described car, GBB loaded the groceries in the other person’s car and waved to them as they drove away.
Now then, boys and girls. How do you think the grocery store would handle the situation?
The store manager profusely and sincerely apologizes to you for the astounding negligence and incompetency of GBB, while other story employees, using your receipt, scurry around the store and stock a cart with the items which had been stolen from you. In addition to replacing your groceries down to the very last item, manager also offers you a store gift card and/or some free-of-charge service as an acknowledge of the inconvenience and loss of your time.
The store manager, upon being apprised of the debacle, cowers in his office and sends the store’s attorney to speak to you. The attorney says, “I am sorry for the loss of your groceries,” and makes no offer to reimburse you in any way.
Option B wouldn’t even occur to you, right?
There is no perfect analogy here to convey my family’s shock and frustration. How do you analogize the theft of a family’s home equity with…anything?
The Escrow Company I am Not (Now) Naming  is in the process of making things right. Or so they claim. A contact inside the company says that they regret their “panic” (such is their excuse), which caused them to hide behind their attorney’s too-bad-it sucks-to-be-you visage and not admit responsibility for their employee’s egregious dereliction of duty.  And although the escrow company is, of course, bonded and insured, they balked on reimbursing us for the stolen funds, thus forcing us to sue them.
Translation, short version: The escrow officer, despite having received and confirmed specific verbal and written/notarized/signed instructions from our family’s financial representative as to the transfer of funds from the sale of our parents’ house, fell for  an email scam and transferred the funds to an entirely different/sham account of an entirely different financial institution – this, less than two hours after speaking with our rep, and without even bothering to pick up the phone to confirm the (sham) changes with our rep…without even just reading the email carefully and noting the numerous red flags contained therein, including the fact that the message did not use our rep’s actual email address… 
Translation, long version : Names will be named, and all the embarrassing (to the escrow company) details will be provided, if the company does not Do The Right Thing. ®
* * *
May you do your job right, no matter how many jobs you have to do; May you have the opportunity to do a role play scenario with Terry Gross; May you, too, come to appreciate or even love Dick (Road); …and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
The series is based on the 1999 novel of the same name.
 And if we didn’t say anything, at least I did.
 I’ve been to such stores and used such services a time or two.
 But will soon, by moiself this blog and by my family and newspaper business reporters and TV consumer fraud reporters, if they do not own up to their mistake and reimburse us.
 They fired the escrow officer who made the fraudulent transfer, which is an admission of guilt.
 Or abetted…I am still not convinced of the escrow officer’s innocence – it is easier to believe she could be in collusion than she could be that incompetent.
 Including the fact that none of this information had been previously supplied via email, due to our rep’s and the entire financial community’s (except, apparently, for one inept escrow officer) awareness of the prevalence of email fraud.
Active, reliable, sarcastic, affectionate, bipedal, cynical optimist, writer, freethinker, parent, spouse and friend, I am generous with my handy supply of ADA-approved spearmint gum and sometimes refrain from humming in public.