Tragedy and Triumph at Fraser Highway and 176th

A couple of things. First, I have to remind everyone to check out the following websites, because they're super awesome. The False is my drawing and illustration blog, which hasn't been updated much recently because I don't have a scanner, and it hasn't been convenient to cart my drawings to school to use the library scanners. Stay tuned though, because it's bound to take off any day now. A Great Sausage is my photo blog. It's cool. I tend to update it much more often; hopefully soon I can get it up to once a day.

Second, I went out to the meadow just up the street a couple days ago to test out my pinhole camera. Up until maybe a year ago it was a farm with sheep and  horses on it, but apparently when the owner was approached by the development company he took their offer without any hesitation, and he's probably living in some overpriced Yaletown loft as we speak. When I went out on Saturday, the surveyors had staked everything out, but it was still a nice meadow with some small groves of deciduous trees (one had a kite caught in it), a road lined with Morning Glories and blackberry bushes, birds and rabbits darting an weaving through the bushes, and an old outhouse, apparently the last remnant of the homestead that used to be on the land, labelled “girls only.” There was no male counterpart. I started a new roll of film today and headed out to the meadow again, only to discover that the entire piece of land had been gutted. All the grass and brush was flattened or dug up, and the groves of trees were now sitting in gigantic piles of detritus, mixed in with old bags and plastic oil bottles and scrap two-by-fours. Down at the bottom of the glen, where there used to be a field of lupine alive with white butterflies, there was only a mud pit partially filled in with water. Bummer. I took some pictures, some of which may turn out okay, but regrettably I discovered that I had forgotten to set the ISO on my digital camera, which I was using as a light meter, so all the pinhole photos I took on Saturday will probably be overexposed.

Third, as you may be able to tell from The False or my Facebook page, I'm reading Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth right now. While I'd give it mixed reviews so far (if that was even possible), she made a fascinating point about how the (largely) fake technical jargon that's attached to most beauty products and diet-oriented foods and weight-loss products nowadays eerily mirrors the tendency of the Establishment to exclude women from “higher” intellectual realms, especially the natural sciences. Similarly, it's been on my mind lately how Lysol products make claims about how many bacteria there are per square inch of your toilet, and how gross that is, while eliding the well-established facts that there are often much more bacteria on places like your skin (50 to 500 million per square inch), and that bacteria are a part of being a healthy, that “dirty” environments are necessary for developing children's immune systems, and that indiscriminate use of household antimicrobial products is probably contributing to antibiotic resistant bacteria. (And let's leave the “not all bugs need drugs” campaign for another day.) Is it just a coincidence that this kind of marketing strategy for household products is similar to the marketing strategies of beauty products in that they exclude women from the knowledge of the natural sciences?

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