regional towns

uhhhhhhhhhhhh

[photo of an egg carton labelled “Gunning Bum Nuts - bloody good eggs from free ranged happy chooks”. A somewhat crass cartoon depiction of a rooster squeezing eggs out of its butt sits beside a serene photograph of hens in a grassy field. The word “Australia” is seen on almost identical cartons in the background.]

A Survival Guide To Recycling in Germany

One of the most immediate culture shocks of traveling to Germany, especially if you grew up in the United States, is Germany’s seeming obsession with recycling. Whereas in the U.S. you are lucky if you can locate a recycling bin in public areas like parks or street corners, you’ll have the opposite problem in Germany, where you’ll find a sometimes confusing plethora of multi-colored bins. If you have been in this situation, looking around desperately to strangers or waiting to see what items other drop in each bin, we feel you. YOU are not alone. Even Germans sometimes question which bin is appropriate for which items.

Due to this common culture shock and the often harsh punishment one receives for a wrong move, we thought we’d give you the lowdown on German recycling.

Step 1: Prevent creating waste in the first place

Germany has created and continues to develop a culture of minimal waste. This is true for projects big and small: here are a few examples of major reducers of waste.

Bag fee: Germany combats the environmental threat of excessive plastic bag-use by adding a small fee onto bags at stores. Even though it’s small, the fee has further motivated people to bring their own reusable bags or carts to stores. Some stores now don’t offer plastic bags at all–opting instead to offer paper bags for those who need them.

Lack of excess packaging: Say tschüss to those individually wrapped fruit packages or items wrapped individually in plastic, then wrapped collectively in plastic.

Quality over quantity: According to a 2016 report by Germany Trade and Invest, Germans are well researched and particular consumers. They are much more risk averse and likely to return items that don’t meet their expectations. This makes things like quality labels or reviews really important and generally lends towards a population that has fewer, but higher quality possessions that don’t need constant replacement.

Step 2: Pfand

Imagine if, for every bottle–plastic or glass, you bought, you had to pay extra for it. The deal in Germany is that you pay more initially but then receive that surcharge back when you give the bottles back for recycling. So, just like when you weekly take the garbage out in the States, in Germany it is a regular habit to return your bin of recycling to super markets where you will find a machine like this:

This machine scans the bar code of your items, and prints a receipt for you to redeem at the register. Basically, if you don’t recycle your eligible items for Pfand, you are losing money.

As a tourist, you have potentially experienced Pfand in a different way. At Christmas markets, stands will charge you extra for the mug that hot drinks are served in. You can choose to keep the mug as a memento, or to return it for Pfand.

You may have also been asked for your empty bottle in public by someone collecting them to return. This is potentially convenient for you, earns them a little money by returning them AND it is good for the earth. Triple whammy! There are even entire non-profits that fund themselves by collecting Pfand at events or concerts.

Step 3: Choose your bin

This part sounds really uncomplicated from an American perspective. Trash or recycling…right?

After giving back bottles for Pfand, Germans sort trash typically by paper, plastic, bio/organic, glass, and other. Though details are dependent on town or region, a general breakdown goes like this:

Paper= blue bins. This bin is for cardboard, newspapers, magazines, waste paper, paper bags, etc, etc.

Plastic = Yellow bins. This is for plastic such as body wash, shampoo, sunscreen, laundry detergent, and juice bottles

Glass= Glass is sorted by color. There are different slots for depositing green, brown and clear glass. In this bin you should be putting any kind of jars (mustard, jam, yogurt, etc), oil bottles, wine bottles or the like.

Bio (organic) = green bins. This is for food waste like egg shells, banana peel, or scraps of food you didn’t eat.

Other = black bins. You choose your size and you’re charged accordingly. They send you a sticker each year to show that you’ve paid for it. Residual waste is garbage that neither includes pollutants nor reusable components. For example ash, dust bag, cigarette ends, rubber, toiletries, and diapers are thrown into the black bin.

Step 4: Enjoy a cleaner earth!

Though the effect of one person caring about the environment is small, the collective effort of a nation makes a dent. Germany leads the European nations in recycling, with around 70 percent of the waste the country generates successfully recovered and reused each year.

Recycling is only one part of Germany’s environmental efforts. Find more about national and local environmental initiatives here: http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/07-Econ-Energy-Innovation/01-Energy-Climate-Env/Energy-Climate-Env.html

Small Town Gothic

-It’s raining again. ‘It’s good for the crops’ you say. Everyone nods. Your neighbor’s cat is missing again, it never came back from the fields. ‘It’s good for the crops.’

-You are stuck behind a tractor again. 'It’s not a tractor, it’s a combine,’ someone says. You don’t know who, but you think it’s best not to question it. You don’t want to be stuck for too long.

-Someone calls to you from the corn field. They have a sing-song voice that’s tipped in shattered glass. When they ask you to come with them, you politely refuse. They tell you not to trust the voices in the woods, and you resolve next time to ask your mom for a ride.

-You remember as a girl waking up to the whistle of the 2 am train. A county song promises the chance to follow and never look back. You want to, but you’ve never been able to find the tracks.

-It’s fall, and fall means football. It’s a language you were never taught, but everyone knows. Someone asks you if you’re going to the game on Friday. There is always a game on Friday. You say you’ll catch the next one, but you’re already there.

-Everyone knows not to swim in the reservoirs. The old timers wink and say there’s something ancient in the depths. You always though they were joking, but the gleam in their eyes matches the gleam off the water, and you can’t be sure. Maybe they’re older than you think.

-There’s a statue in the cemetery. It’s old, so old, and you can’t quite tell what it used to be. No moss or ivy grows on the stone. You always watch it in the corner of your eye, you don’t want it to catch you off guard.

-The girl behind the counter tells you to try the pie. You don’t remember if you walked into the diner or the grocery. It doesn’t matter, she would still smile at you in whatever store you wandered into. She knows you name and asks about your mother. Her name tag is smudged, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever you called her would be wrong. Try the cherry, it’s in season.

-No one knows who spray painted the water tower so many years ago, and no one can agree on what it says. Whenever you look at it, it’s changed. No one remembers what it felt like before, but we know it’s different. The only thing we can agree on is that it feels like a warning.

Texas Gothic: North Texas
  • There are flocks of screeching black birds at every intersection, but only in the dusty twilight hours. They sit like malignant blots on the grass, the power lines, the trees. Without warning they fly all at once, a great crying black cyclone that makes you want to cover your ears and pray. They settle again, like they never moved at all, and you wait for it to start again.
  • A school bus passes you, but it’s not time for them to be going to or from school. You look again, but you can’t see anyone inside. The bus turns down a side street you don’t remember being there a moment ago. You blink and the bus and street are both gone. In your rear view mirror you see another empty bus.
  • There is a construction zone. There is always a construction zone. You have never seen anyone working at a construction zone, but they are always there.
  • Every shop in the strip mall is for lease. Half the shops in the next are for lease as well. That building is for lease. You swear there was a restaurant there yesterday, but no more. That building is for lease. You went to that store just last week. That building is for lease. You begin to expect the constant emptiness of the buildings and strips.
  • The wind howls and howls and strange things appear in the street, in your yard. They’re blown away again in moments, but the memory of them stays like a sour taste in the back of your throat. You pray the wind stops, but you also dread it. No one knows what will happen if the wind stops.
flickr

Grand House by Australian Photos
Via Flickr:
A grand house in Skipton (central Victoria, Australia).

Isolated Small Towns Gothic

Isolated small towns:

You know everyone, and everyone knows you, yet you’ve never met anyone who lives on your street.

The town is surrounded by forest. Never ending forest. There are times you wonder if there is anything other than forest.

You read on Facebook that bears have come into the town. You never see any bears, and no one mentions why they have come into town.

From the time you start school you are taught how to protect yourself from the bears. No one ever mentions what else lies out there.

You watch and envy the people that come in and leave the town before the year is up, they are lucky.

You walk by empty houses with ‘for sale’ signs everyday, and there always seems to be more and more. No one seems to notice.

You’ve been to the next town over, you’re sure of it. It might just be a dream though.

You watch the clock tick by, watching as the hours go by. You repeat it the next day, and the next. Nothing ever seems to change.

There are so many empty spaces to build houses or stores. They would all work so well, in great locations and in the best parts of town. No one ever builds there. You wonder why.

You wonder if you’ll ever get out.

Is there anything else out there? It must just be an illusion.

South Georgia Gothic
  • There are four corners in this town: the church, the City Hall, the diner, and the graveyard.
  • The doors of the Baptist church are shut tightly, squeezed into their ill-formed doorframe. They say this is to keep the devil out. What you can’t see are the deep, desperate, clawing marks on the inside of the doors. You will never know what it is they are trying to keep in.
  • The City Hall houses the police station and the post office as well. An old woman sits behind a desk. You cannot remember a time when she was not here. Neither can she. A rattling metal fan pushes around the stale air. The woman does not draw breath. You swallow hard and hurriedly shove your postcard behind a creaking metal flap. It drags slowly down the rusty chute.
  • There are only five tables in this diner. One of them is taken by three elderly men who stare at you as you ask the waitress for an ice water. There is no ice in your glass. You drink the lukewarm water. The men do not blink.
  • You are on your way out of town. A young woman stands in the center of the graveyard. Her long dress and hair are blowing in the wind, but the air is still. The sun is weighing down heavily upon you. You gasp for air as the woman falls to the ground and claws her way into a newly dug grave. Don’t stay here.
  • In the late afternoon, the sun and full moon are on opposite sides of the sky. As they align, you are unable to tell them apart. You are on your way out of town. Which way were you going? Be sure to make up your mind before the sun falls below the horizon.
  • Your postcard rests between the bones of a long-dead animal in the basement of the City Hall. On one side, an ink drawing of endless green fields and blue skies. On the other, four stamps and two words: help me.

ISIS is a proud, self-described Sunni terrorist group. Same with Al-Qaeda. Same with the Taliban. All three of these groups have published material readily available to all of us which outlines the best ways to kill – not criticize, imprison or convert – but KILL Shia muslims.We have their published agendas in writing saying so. They have literal websites and magazines and publications claiming as such. All three groups have, at one point or another, claimed that *expunging shias from the muslim population* is Priority #1. All of these groups, at one point or another–and literally as we speak–have destroyed entire shia towns/villages/regions and massacred hundreds of thousands of shias.  They have literal websites and magazines and publications claiming as such. This does not mean all sunnis are prone to terrorism or should be held accountable for these groups in any way, but it does mean sunni muslims who hear propaganda like “ISIS is actually shia!!!!!!! they’re just pretending to be sunni to make us look bad!!!!” have a responsibility to correct members of their community and stop feeding into poisonous, murderous anti-shia talk. 

shia muslims are literally being killed and all that muslims have accomplished is memes about shia/sunni relations and pushing literal propaganda painting shias as deserving of genocide 

Small, deprived North of England town Gothic

-The football team block off all the roads isolating you from the outside for months. You do not know how long the game has lasted for, and you have not seen an outsider in years. Even now you can hear eldritch chants from your window. It is 0-0.

-There are no shops anymore, except those decorated with strange hieroglyphic signs reading ‘Poundland’. You go outside. There are seventeen £1 shops and one 99p store on your street alone. Each night they get closer. You fear for your life. You fear for your soul. You fear they will come and take you away, and sell you for one pound. This would not surprise you at all. At this point, nothing can surprise you. “£1 please.”

-There are more pigeons than people. Your family are pigeons. You are a pigeon. You open your mouth to speak but only muffled coos come out. You scream. More pigeons come flying out from your broken beak, until they outnumber mankind altogether.

-It is bin day. It has always been bin day for as long as you can remember. When was it not bin day? It is bin day. It has always been bin day.

-The sky is grey and cloud-infested. You have never seen sunlight in your short, pitiful life. You may die without ever seeing light. Part of you thinks this might be a blessing. You fear what you do not know. You fear everything.

-Every building on your street is boarded up, something akin to a plague house from the 1600s. You hear moans coming from inside and walk quickly away, cursing David Cameron’s NHS cuts that mean you are forced to revert to the Old Ways. Or perhaps the Old Ways never truly went away. You go home and your grandmother who is 192 and lived through the War has a cold. It is time. You reach for the boards and a hammer.

-Wild plastic bags roam the streets, claiming children as their own and carrying them away to strange places. When they come home, they have a sheen to their skin. They are never the same afterwards.

-The Council announce they are cutting lifespan to 60, and then you will be sold off to organ harvesters. This is a just cause. You will make a difference. Your life will have had meaning. 

-You are surrounded by hundreds of identical children in varying uniforms. You do not think you have ever seen these children in school. You do not think schools exist, or do not remember schools existing. There are always children surrounding you, and they are always identical. They do not seem to age. Age is a meaningless concept.

-You get the bus into town, thanking the bus driver when you get off. You always remember to thank the bus driver. It is dangerous not to. You still bear the scars from last time you forgot. At night they throb and keep you awake, reminding you how lucky you were to come away from that alive.

-The football team hover in a strange ephemeral netherworld, a purgatory between promotion and relegation, looping between the two with Ourobourosian paradoxity. 

-The football ground is built on a swamp. It has claimed 17 lives today alone. Brackish water fills your lungs when you set foot inside. Make that 18 then.

-It is Christmas. Your neighbours houses are brightly lit enough to be seen from space. One of them sets up a vast inflatable Santa. You can hear the Santa laughing when you pass by, and remember that Santa is an anagram of Satan. 

-There is a busker in town. Nobody has given him any money. His case is full of disused currencies. He has been playing for a long time.

-A fair occupies the local park 13 months of every year. People who go in are not normally seen again. You think you might direct your relatives there in order to get rid of them.

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☁ Unova region - the ‘cloud’ region ☁

Writing Every Day

Anonymous asked: “Do you have any tips for getting into the habit of writing everyday? Every time I try to write something short for the day, I usually go with a vague idea but get stumped or unmotivated after a few sentences.” 

This is a great question. Writing every day is important for staying in practice, but it also can make you feel really rusty after taking a weekend off. Someone told me once that writing everyday should be like going to the gym. To see the full effect, you don’t need to write every single day but 5 days out of 7. And maybe not that long every day, just some time to set aside when you can to get a few hundred words in. 

I found out the other day, that many writers really only write about 200 words a day (and most don’t even write 5 days of the week). I was shocked by this. I often strive to write about 800 to 1000 words a day and I try to do it every day in some capacity - whether it’s just ramblings in this document I keep, scenes that aren’t really for any project, a piece of a short story, or some work on my novel. This is how I keep in practice. I also shoot for 5 days instead of 7. 

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/ san sebastian / by Aubrey Dunnuck

The Braves - Chapter 1.

Today is a very special day.

It’s @titaniasfics birthday.

Everybody knows what she did for the fandom, how she helped, beta-ed, encouraged so many of us, how she believed in us, every single day.

So today, please, let’s join into celebrating her.

My dear C, here is for you … the WW2 story I told you about.

@akai-echo just surpassed herself with the banner (it’s so perfect !!!) and @dandelion-sunset did the beta-ing part :)


Un très joyeux anniversaire !!!

With love!

THE BRAVES

Chapter 1.

“God not only plays dice, he also sometimes throws the dice where they cannot be seen.” Stephen Hawkings.

April 1942, Panem, France.

Rain was falling heavily on the trees, clicking on the roofs, echoing in the streets of the town, soaking the man’s shirt.

But he couldn’t move.

One single move, and the sentinel standing closeby would undoubtedly see him.

He just couldn’t get caught.

There were barely two hundred meters left to reach Peeta’s house, to get to the safety of his home. Two hundred meters, but they were always the longest and most dangerous.

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