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Snapshots: dandelion spiders, great outdoors, recycling, and public art

Curtailed commentary on current conditions.



Print Edition: May 6, 2015

Illustrations by Anthony Biondi

Illustrations by Anthony Biondi

Dandelion spiders no more

What the hell is up with spiders hanging around in dandelion seeds? Just recently I was up at the Mission Abbey, picking dandelion seeds to blow with my girlfriend.

Who doesn’t enjoy blowing a good dandelion seed cluster? Well, it was entirely a different experience this time. I had picked up what I would consider to be 10 stalks to blow together, creating the greatest floating endeavour the north side of the Fraser River has ever seen.

Half-way through, I was flabbergasted when I saw the largest round-sacked spider just sitting there staring at me through the disappearing cluster of seeds in my hand. Clinging as hard as he could against my gust, I’m sure he would have had no problem attacking me should he have had the opportunity to get close enough to my finger. The truth is, spiders should not be hanging around in dandelion seeds.

However, I did get him good as I harshly threw him to the field. I bet that ruined his day.



Get sweaty in the great outdoors

I’m not taking summer courses and my U-pass has expired. Without it, the ARC student rate is $4.10, which is a little steep if I want to go frequently. I’m going to miss the ARC, because working out outside is the worst. I’m not in shape enough to go for a half-hour run and be done with it — the longest I can run is five minutes. Besides, I like doing the full range of exercises.

There are a number of problems with the great outdoors. You have to deal with too much sun, too much wind, itchy grass, and dog poop. But the most horrible of all is the people. There’s nothing worse than sweating and grunting in awkward-looking exercise while there are people sauntering by in their street clothes.

At the gym, everyone is in their work-out gear, everyone’s sweaty, and we’re all ignoring each other. People outside want to say hello, or at least stare long enough that you know you look weird. If you want to get your sweat on outdoors, I guess you just have to work with what you’ve got rather than pretend you’re in a gym. It’s going to be a summer of hikes and lake-swims for me.



Someone forgot how to recycle

I’ll start by saying that I work for a big and well-known retail chain which will remain unnamed because I wish to not be fired.

I’ve witnessed the trashing of all sorts of recyclables at this store. There have been numerous plastics, styrofoam, large amounts of steel and iron, and even electronics thrown into the dumpster out back. These acts are not perpetuated by just the common employees; I saw the store manager smashing up Blu-Ray players and throwing them in. It was quite upsetting for a number of reasons.

Back in the day I worked for London Drugs. They had a recycling program and recycled literally everything. I just don’t understand why more businesses don’t do this.

It’s almost as if larger retailers can’t be bothered to think about the environment. It’s like they don’t care that all of this waste just sits in a landfill to rot. Electronic components especially need to be carefully recycled. This sort of wastefulness and disregard for the environment is so typical of a consumerist society. Wake the fuck up, retail.



Seventh inning blahs

Abbotsford displays some 60 pieces of varied public installations, and while many are years old, they remain an important part of Abbotsford’s history and a point of nostalgia for many residents. Others, however, need replacing.

An example comes in the very salient form of a mural depicting an Abbotsford win at a decades-past Canadian junior fastball tournament, titled “Seventh Inning Stretch.”  The fading mural, located on Essendene Avenue, was painted in 1991 and given a 10-year lifespan. Apart from the question of who really cares about baseball, all of the players are white, and a couple of the men on the bleachers appear to be crudely checking out a woman walking by. Not a very flattering representation of Abbotsford.

Abbotsford is home to many capable artists. The Reach, the Kariton Art Gallery, and even the halls of UFV’s C building have showcased this talent for years. Why not update some of the less historically significant public artworks using some of this local talent?

Abbotsford is changing, and we need our public art to reflect those changes.


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