Monthly archives: January 2011

spanish pipedream

We’d taken a discount flight to Spain, which meant we’d landed at the discount airport. And discount airports always seem to be at least two hours away from the city they claim to be attached to. Barcelona my ass.
Our thumbs got us to a traffic circle got us on a whiskey truck heading to the city. There had been lewd gestures from cars, and we’d lost two hours somewhere beside that circle, but when we got dropped off right at the harbor it didn’t really matter. Barcelona! Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona! You handsome rake, you.
But [...]

this is a stick-up

While we’re on the subject of legality…
When I hear the phrase “armed robbery,” I imagine a group of masked bandits shouting their way out of bank with a bag full of bills in one hand and a semi-automatic rifle in the other. When I hear that someone has been convicted of armed robbery, I imagine that said person has been convicted of a pretty intense and ballsy crime. I imagine a person rolling into a store with pistols blazing, and then driving through a plate-glass window and on into the sunset. Well, that’s what I used to [...]

legality in a dumpster

Kid in dumpster with mountain of food. Head of broccoli demands, “What are you doing in here?” Kid counters, “What are YOU doing in here?”
Burdens lift and scarcity is averted when the mountains of trash produced by this insane society become supplies and sustenance. Everything that sucks about capitalism is inverted when the dumpster diver scores. Poverty becomes abundance. Loss becomes gain. Despair becomes hope.
-CrimethInc’s “Recipes for Disaster”
Dumpster diving can be magical. It can divert trash from landfills. It can feed people who are poor and hungry. It can teach you [...]

dumpster find of the week: trash bikes

This week’s dumpster find of the week is from a British fellow who works as an X-ray tech by day, but says that his true calling is “shade tree engineer.” His dumpster find comes from the trash of Virginia:

Here’s what he said about the picture: “Intrigued by your post about the tall bike, I hatched a plan to make one. Very cheaply. So these bikes were trash, found in a dumpster (admittedly not all in the same one). I was amazed how many dumpsters had bikes in them. My wife asked me to stop after bike number nine. 2 [...]

of oranges in a dumpster

Our latest adventure led us to oranges. Bag after bag after bag after bag. Sure, each one had one or two moldy little orbs. But each bag also had ten in the perfect condition to fill our mouths with vitamin C and cover our chins in juice.
I was slitting open net bags and separating the moldy from the edible when the Carpenter came into the kitchen. Slice open a bag, toss the squishy, moldy oranges into the compost bucket, toss the good ones into a plastic crate. I take a perverse joy in sorting dumpster [...]

recycling for the apocalypse: bike wheel chandelier

This is sort of weird and personal, but here goes: it gives me a rush to see commercial bric-a-brac in a down and dirty survival context. For example, when I see cardboard shacks in the Mexican colonias, I always feel a little rush when I see the word “Pringles,” or “THIS SIDE UP,” or “IBM.” It’s so…post apocalyptic. So that shelving unit in the chicken coop always gave me a small charge, and I get a rush from burning wooden crates with produce trademarks stamped on the ends.
You see, commercial products are constantly hyped, creating little “recognition [...]

goodbye lazy dumpster

I have to admit it: I haven’t been dumpster diving for food in a long time. Winter showed up and signaled the end of my bike riding season. (I need a bike for hauling stuff with mountain bike tires. My tiny racing bike wheels suck on snow and ice.) Cold weather meant fewer folks willing to come along for the ride. And regular employment means I can buy food at the farmer’s market or sometimes even (gasp! can she really mean it?!!) inside of a grocery store.
Nope, I’m not 100% freegan. In fact, [...]

bring on the heat

I wrap cold fingers around a hot cup of tea in an attempt to convince myself that I don’t really need to light the wood stove in the kitchen. The weather has been warm for too long; I no longer regard the return of the cold with joyful acceptance, but weariness and a mild dread born of wood stove-lighting laziness. A few weeks of weather like the beginning of spring and I’m already going soft.
Finally, I admit to myself that I have at least a half day’s worth of internet work ahead of me (I only get a [...]

dumpster find of the week: wooden wine crates

One of my favorite things to find in the trash—and lucky for me I find them there quite often—are old wooden wine crates. Sturdy and pretty in that rustic country living sort of way that I like so much, wooden wine crates are one of those things that I find so versatile and useful that every time I discover one I find myself wondering why so many people throw them away. Then again, I wonder that about just about everything I find in the trash.
I’ve gotten them from the Sperrmuell, I’ve found them in the wood bin at the [...]

recycling for the apocalypse: sheds

The identity of an object is malleable.  When we throw an item away because it has outlived it’s function, we are often sending resources to an early death out of a lack of creativity—or sometimes because of a lack of space in which we can store old objects for the time when the form of their reincarnation becomes clear. Old clothing that could have been remade or used to patch other worn clothing, a table top that could become a wall (or firewood), or tins that you screw to the ceiling to protect it from the heat of the [...]