• [Evolution of Eingang]

    One of the questions I get asked fairly frequently by people is “How did you come up with Eingang as your nickname?” Here explained are the mysterious origins of “Eingang” or “Ein.”
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  • [Student Standards]

    Even though I’m working on a Ph.D. and have been for several years, I want my home to feel like a home, and not like the remnants of a free-for-all jumble sale. This is especially important when you consider that I spend almost all of my time working from home. Order, organization, cleanliness, and comfort are definitely my bywords and clash strongly with my recollections of days of living off of $3.25 (CDN) an hour in a shared apartment, sleeping on the floor, and eating instant noodles. That’s the student experience. It’s definitely over-rated! I don’t miss those years at all.

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  • [Weeping White]

    [Stark snow-covered landscape with a solitary, snow-laden pine tree]I woke up this morning in Edmonton and the sky was weeping white, coating the trees, the hills, and brown ground with a soft carpet. The main streets, while mostly plowed, were somewhat devoid of traffic, so there was a hush, appropriate to the virgin wool coat of the world. Little flakes dance like dust motes caught in an errant sunbeam. The sky is an even snowy grey, so unlike the darker, drearier skies of our Brighton home. On days like this, it is so easy to feel at peace and one with the world, believing that perhaps people and places are not so bad after all.

  • [Rays' Return]

    The trees of my ascent into adulthood sway in the slight winter breezes and a midweight blanket of snow covers the ground, glistening starkly by moonlight against the dark swathe of the heavens. The sun has long set, it being the second shortest night of the year. Tomorrow, the solstice and the gradual return of lengthening light to my world. Ah, but tonight, tonight is the celebration, the beckoning, the welcoming of light back to the land. Armed with food to share and light hearts, we speed off to join our sisters and brothers in dance, chant, and song.

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  • [Ambulance Angst]

    The sound of an ambulance always makes me cry. The pitiful wailing reminds me of how fragile the bonds of life really are. The rising and falling scream rarely signifies good tidings. Perhaps that’s why I cry. Deep inside, where I keep it carefully hidden, beats the heart of a sensitive.

  • [Doped Out Doper]

    Yesterday, the sunlight called to us through the open window. Putting aside our duties for part of an early afternoon, we went promenading in St. Ann’s Well Garden, a local planned garden spot, occupying a few city blocks. On our way back, we stopped to stroll through Brunswick Square. Brunswick Square is the slightly more upscale and definitely more beautiful residential square in our area. Unfortunately, the less savoury elements who inhabit the closer Norfolk Square have migrated the few blocks down the seafront to this beautiful Regency square. On this particular day, we had walked through almost to the seafront entrance when we passed a person lying passed out along the path. Passed out drunks are a relatively common fixture around this part of Brighton, even in early afternoon, so we did walk past initially, our eyes flickering over the sight as we continued our banal conversation on a bright day. Something wasn’t quite right. The image passed again quickly through my mind and I doubled back to be sure. This wasn’t a passed out drunk. A capped needle lay nestled in the crook of his neck and a small serum-sized bottle on top of the bench nearby. He was out completely, hardly moving. I couldn’t tell by looking if he was breathing and his eyes were mere whites, rolled up into his head.
    Caught without our cellular phones, I ran towards a man yabbering away on his and begged him to call 911. He instead pointed me to a telephone booth on the other side of the hedge. While I was on the telephone with emergency services, my conversational partner was dispatched to check on the poor man’s breathing and try to rouse him. Within a short time, we were attended by an ambulance. The man had just returned to the mundane world, but he was confused and seemed concerned with the fact that another man had perhaps run off with his money. He denied to the ambulance crew that he took drugs, but the needle so carefully crooked capped next to his neck had been used. The bottle on the bench had been painkillers. He’d knocked himself out or been knocked out by his accomplice on a combination of painkillers and cooked smack. He stumbled away, refusing assistance from the ambulance crew, and headed in his shambling, confused way down the street. I, choked up with emotion, watched silently, wishing him well. Had I helped him? Perhaps not. But at least I hadn’t blindly walked on by.

  • [Lock Those Libraries]

    [Blue book with an open door in the cover]I visited the library at the University of Sussex yesterday for the first time in ages. I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that the library is now locked up tighter than a drum. In order to enter the library at all, you need to have a valid library card which is scanned by a card reader attached to the turnstyles. This just seems so… odd. I can understand preventing unauthorized people from removing items from the building, but why prevent anyone from entering and using the contents in a polite way? I’ve been to university libraries in several European countries, across three Canadian provinces, and in a few American states, and I’ve never seen a locked down library before. The war on terrorism has spread to libraries: our knowledge might be contaminated. Lock those libraries!

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  • [Wheelie Bins for Waste]

    An example of a wheelie binBrighton + Garbage = It’s a real mess.
    My solution: wheelie bins for all. Yes, I secretly lust after a wheelie bin for my rubbish. Actually, I lust after a whole city full of wheelie bins, just like Nottingham. If everybody had a wheelie bin, then I could probably rely on mine not being stolen. I could also put out my garbage the night before collection and not leave the house the next morning to find that the seagulls managed to break into it and strew it all over the street, making a very large, unsanitary mess on my doorstep.
    First, we get Wheelie Bins, then we take care of the poor recycling!