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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wrapping things up

Its been great the past few weeks, having loads of holiday treats and leftovers to eat without having to brave the cold nights in search of food; however, the cupboards started getting a little bare and I was getting tired of potatoes, pasta and bread.. Since I had hardly left the house in previous days I decided that it would be good to get out for a bit and pick up some food. I also wanted to test out the new loot bag I made for diving. I like to go really late at night so I dont have to worry about running in to anyone. That way, I can take my time sorting through stuff and I dont have to worry about being too loud. I found a bunch of good stuff but was disappointed that I didn't find any good veggies. Heres what I did find:

5 boxes mini croissants
3 boxes blueberry and banana nut muffins
3 boxes assorted doughnuts
5 bags assorted bagles
3 loaves bread
4 containers roasted red pepper hummus
64oz bottle cran-grape juice
2 boxes pop tarts
2 containers apple sauce
3 fruit cups
3 bags tortilla chips
box mac&cheese
3 boxes Little Debbie snacks
12 honey buns
3 boxes cereal
can of peas
mystery can.. maybe cream of something soup?
wooden serving spoons
tulip and anemone bulbs
portable CD player w/ headphones
bottle mouthwash
scented candle
5 fiesta themed small candles
Excedrin for tension headache
neck pillow
bottle CLR
small apron
electric toothbrush

I started this grand experiment in February of this year. Its been a full 10 months now and I have spent (a rough estimate of) $300 on food, health/hygiene products, clothes, cat supplies, and other random stuff. This excludes gas, vet bills, beer and all the other stuff I still have to purchase.
I was telling my grandmother about my blog the other day and how I've been dumpster diving. She told me that my uncle used to go to Hardee's to get hamburgers at the end of the day when he was in college. I think that is what she thinks I do. I don't think that she realizes that I can go out and get $100 dollars of groceries andother stuff any night I feel like going to the dumps. Today my aunt asked me "Are you going to spend you whole life like this?" To that I say, "Why the hell wouldn't I!?" I like to keep the money I earn, instead of wasting it on things I can have for free. I want to be able to give back the money Ive borrowed for student loans instead of giving it away in exchange for food when there is so much waste occurring. I can never again turn back to how I used to live. I have already seen what is happening behind the pretty store fronts and I can't un-learn what Ive discovered. It would be foolish to ignore it. It is wrong to ignore it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Xmas Gift Wrapping Extravaganza

Tonight I was supposed to host a holiday party but I think last nights out-of-the-blue 5 inches of snow scared everyone away.. So it will now be a Come-eat-the-food-i-cooked-and-lets-wrap-presents-while-boozin-it-up party. Ive got loads of stuff to wrap and Im going to enlist the help of my lady friends for it. Since I made something new tonight that I've been itching to try out, I guess Ill post it since it turned out so well.

Swedish Potatoes

Preheat your oven to 425F. Cut a potato almost all the way through in really thin slices, about 1/8 of an inch. I put the potato in a large serving spoon to help steady it and keep from chopping all the way through it. Fan it out a bit so that the slices have a little space in between and drizzle butter or olive oil, or whatever you prefer/ have available on top so it gets between the layers, then sprinkle some salt, pepper and any other spices or herbs you like on top and in between. Bake them for about 20 minutes or until they are mostly done. Sprinkle some grated parmesean cheese on top and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the desired cheese meltyness has been achieved.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Dorm Dumps

I went with a friend to the dorms this week to see what was getting thrown away at the end of this semester and was surprised with what I found. I had never been at the end of  a fall semester so I didnt really know what to expect, but I was surprised by the amount of food that I found. Won't the kids want this food when they get back from winter break? I dunno... In addition to the all the food, I found several great Christmas presents. It was interesting going before break when there are still people living in the dorms; at 2am there were still people out and about and walking around, some watching us digging through the bags of garbage. We must have surprised the guy who came out to throw some stuff away..
Tomorrow I am hosting a holiday party for my friends and co-workers. Its given me a good excuse to clean the house, re-arrange and organize the furniture and other stuff I've brought home. The home is looking pretty good, now that I've put my mark on it.  I'll also be cooking some stuff for the party so Ill post recipes, as it's been a while since I shared any with you.
From the dorms I was able to salvage:

13 freeze pops.. my favorite!
11 assorted packs of crackers, granola bars, etc.
box of pop tarts
4 mini boxes cereal
box Lucky Charms
large bag Frosted Flakes
pkg Oreos
12oz jar peanutbutter
bag of pastel mints
2 vanilla latte mix packs
2 easy squeeze icing bags
2 bags soup mix
4 bottles Ensure
3 bags microwave popcorn
3 bags baked ruffle chips
1 tube thin mint girl scout cookies
1 jar Prego pasta sauce
can Monster energy drink
bar Lever 200 soap
double sided magnifying mirror
large umbrella
dust buster
chain license plate frame
collapsible tote bag
music note tote bag
Brookestone travel blow dryer
Pampered Chef can opener
2 tupperware bins
3 ring binder
halloween beach ball
several disposable coffee cups
book of Psalms
3 issues of the schools art and literature magazine
girls sweater
girls H&M shirt
mens jeans 28x30
sm. brown collared tee
white tank

Some of these things will be gifts, some I will keep and the rest will probably end up in care packages or donation boxes for local charities. I guess I could even send things to my readers if they wanted anything...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


As I said a long time ago, I want to spruce things up a bit, so im making a few minor changes in the template and such. stay tuned for details and let me know what you think about it!

My Cup Flowith Over

Either I haven't been going out as often and forgot how much wealth is available to those who want to take it, or there is a significant increase in the availability of discarded wealth at the end of the year; I have been finding great stuff every day and wouldn't know what to do with it all if Christmas wasn't just around the bend.. I cant just keep hoarding all this stuff once the giving season has passed. I need a warehouse.. a place to keep all the salvaged stuff, or a venue to disperse it to those who need it...
So this is a short list from a stop on the way to a friend's last night, and a list of stuff from salvaged from the dorms today after exams. 

a pair of microterry slippers
tube of arthritis cream
bottle of extra strong hair spray
box of iron supplement
3 boxes healthy skin cream
1 box chocolate cereal straws
1 container french onion dip
1 reveal light bulb
100 xmas light strand

full length mirror
trash can
2 tote bags.. excellent for diving!
3 pairs fruit of the loom boxer briefs (brand new, never worn, in my size)
Jazz history text book
compact florescent light bulb
set of colored permanent pens
3 outlet receptacle plug
1/2 bottle Biore face wash
some laundry detergent
bottle of French suncreen ($36 price tag)

Some may be repulsed by the fact that I am excited to have found used hygiene products and undergarments in the trash. I understand that it sounds nasty and how it could seem dirty and disgusting. They don't understand that it is clean, safe and perfectly good. Just because it was put inside a bag that spent a few hours inside a metal box with other discarded items that may not be clean, doesn't mean that it is automatically contaminated or unsafe to use as soon as it enters that metal box.

Consider this: If you have never been to Chicago or New York City, you can read books about it, look at pictures and hear what people who have visited have to say about it; but you can never, ever have a good understand of what it is like to visit that city until you have been there and seen it for yourself.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More veggies!

On my way home from the Christmas party that my mom hosted for her work friends last night, I stopped at the grocery next to her house, the same one got all the veggies from the other night, and found... more veggies! And whats more? 25 bottles of assorted salad dressing! It was another of those I-thought-it-so-I-found-it moments. Its so strange how that happens so often. Now Ill have a lovely variety of dressings for all the baby organic greens I found the other night and plenty to share with mom and friends. All of her work friends must have thought I'm the best son around when I showed up with a bag full of organic veggies and a dozen pink roses. I also gave her the Similac and some jars of Gerber baby food for one of her coworkers with a little baby.
Last nights dive yielded:

2 artichokes
2 pineapples
2 organic cabbages
10 sweet potatoes
3 3lb bags clementines
1lb box organic green beans
7 zucchini
1 jalapano
2 loaves neo-tuscan artisan bread
2 bleu cheese salad finishers
1 bag croutons
5 bottles asian toasted sesame dressing
11 bottles parmesean asiago balsamic vinegrette
9 bottles Sicilian roasted garlic balsamic vin.
1 bottle sun-dried tomato vin.
2 bottles Maries natural Italian vin.
2 organic basil plants
2 chrysanthemums
1 cycleman

As a plant freak, I always take home any plants I find. Im really excited about the cycleman because its in pretty good condition and will bloom again in a couple days; so beautiful!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Early Christmas

I love what I do. I felt like a child on Christmas morning when I got home last night and brought all my boxes of loot in to the kitchen for sorting and cleaning. I still had two unopened bags to root through, only able to guess what could be inside; they were like giant wrapped presents under the table.

After spending about an hour of sorting, unwrapping, washing, inventorying and arranging I was finally done. I had forgotten that the bulk of the work comes once you get your treasures home.

Once again, after displaying everything on the kitchen table for picture time, I was filled with a sense of immense satisfaction and triumpth mixed with a hint of nausea and guilt. I dont understand why this is happening, why I am able to do this every day. I went to theses same places two days ago and got everything of value. Last night I thought twice about finishing my loop because my car was almost full before I even got to the second and third spots.

I guess I can look at it as a lesson about the corporate machine; it never sleeps, never stops, never slows down. Tomorrow will bring another dump full of treasures.
I guess one positive thing is that with Christmas coming up, there will be plenty of wonderful gifts to bestow upon all of my family and friends; It's gonna be the best Christmas ever! I think back to years past and how around this time I am usually scrambling around, trying to pick up shifts so I can get a little more on that last paycheck before Christmas so I can give it all away to Wal-Mart, Target and the other places that embody the modern spirit of Christmas. Im saving my money this year, hopefully for my plans of going to school in Hawai'i next year.
 With Christmas coming up, abundance of everything in the cold weather, care packages and prepping for Hawai'i constantly on my mind, the gears in my brain have been turning again; How can I make the most out of my unique position, make things easier for myself, my family and my friends? I have only made about $4,000 working this year. Adding all financial aid and assistance from school and other sources brings my income this year to around $8,000, well below the poverty line. And I have lived like a king! Not once have I gone hungry, worried about paying rent, buying school supplies or any other nesscesity. In fact, I have had such an abundance of material wealth that I can afford share it with all of my poverty stricken friends, family and the occasional homeless person. I need somewhere to put all my excess until I can find places or people for it to go to..
So here's the list, divided by food and non-food items:

3 boxes Honey Nut Cheerio cereal & milk bars
9  bags assorted Dove chocolates
2 bags mini Snickers
1 bag assorted mini candy bars
6 bottles diet caffeine free Pepsi
1 bag organic red grapes
5 bartlett pears
bunch of red bananas
1lb box organic green beans
1 bag cut broccoli and baby carrots
3 pkgs portabella mushrooms
4 tomatoes
4 white onions
7 yellow, green and orange bell peppers
5 yellow squash
5 zucchini
1 cucumber
1 ear yellow corn
3 carrots
2 10lb bags white potatoes
10lb bag russet potatoes
4 bags baby carrots
5 boxes organic baby romaine and herb mix
7 assorted apples
1 bag Mott's Macintosh apples
2 16oz cartons strawberries
4lb bag Sunkist oranges
3lb bag clementines
carton fresh sage
1lb box Ritz crackers
6 bottles Similac baby formula
16 4pk boxes chocolate doughnuts
1 loaf roasted garlic artisan bread
4ct bag everything bagles
10ct box chicken wings
1 pan yeast rolls
1lb bag Maxwell House coffee
3.5oz pkg feta
8oz garlic herb cheese spread
Sergento ham salad finishers
2 32oz spaghetti dinners
2 12 oz. baked ziti dinners
7 boxes Totino's pepperoni pizza rolls
2lb bag tater tots

5 boxes Crest White Strips
2 toothbrushes
Neutrogena grapefruit face scrub
dry skin therapy lotion
ocean body spray
senior vitamins
2 bottles Pantene shampoo
colored xmas lights
4lb. bag Epsom salts
baby boots
box staples
can Alpo dog food
2 light bulbs
pair of jeans
2 boquets of flowers
3 herb plants; 2 basil and 1 cilantro
reusable tote bag

All this in one night. And again, everything is packaged, wrapped, in boxes and so on. Most stuff was tossed because it was getting close to the "expiration date." Some was tossed because the package was torn or punctured. Some people think that I am "disgusting" or that I am a "parasite." I understand that no one wants to buy it. I understand that the company can't use it any more because it has no potential to make them money. But I don't understand why all of this material wealth with minor defects, yet still usable and perfectly good, is thrown away when so many people around the world and here at home in America are struggling, toiling, suffering all day every day to acquire the perfect packages from inside the store. Not only are these items just casually thrown away, but most often they intentionally destroyed; cut open, poured out, ripped apart, crushed in to compacted blocks and guarded under lock and key behind huge walls and fences. I am fortunate to have several spots whose employees are either too careless to follow through with corporate policies of destroying merchandise bound for the trash or they leave it in hopes that someone will be able to get it. I like to think the latter; its less depressing and Ill take what little comfort I can find in the face of this seemingly hopeless problem. But I still have hope. I hope to change things. The gears are turning.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Weather

Since the last post I have been incredibly busy with school, work, birthdays(my own included)  and preparing for a new year.. I forgot how much time and effort it all requires! Often times I have an inner struggle with whether to go to the library and study, or go to the dumps.. their seductive call and promise of feasts and treasure is very tempting and difficult to drown out. In between studying for exams and ironing my work uniform I have found little time to go to the dumps and even less to post lists and pictures, but when the semester is over Ill be able to catch up.

In other exciting news, I got a camera!! No more of this frustrating borrowing-cameras-never-having-one-to-take-pictures-of-the-best-finds business.. Now I will be able to take pictures and videos and upload everything myself, whenever I want! Im obviously pretty excited about this major increase in efficiency and convenience. Im also very excited to be able to convey my experiences more vividly to all of you.

Since I am not buying any Christmas presents for anyone, I really need to start going out more so that I can find as much good gift material as I can. I've already been setting things aside that I have deemed appropriate for giving as Christmas presents; among these items are candy, perfumes, shower gels and lotions, dishes, cosmetics, furniture, candles and other miscellaneous beauty and hygiene products. I'll also post some ideas and pictures of gifts I'm making.

Now, on to last night's list:

17 6pack Snickers bars
6 bags Riesen candy
8pack mini Butterfinger
7 containers chicken noodle soup
1 container Easy Mac
2 Betty Crocker Bowl Appetite pasta bowls
1 can pineapple
1 can Spaghetti O's
1 box HoneyBunches of Oats with almonds

12 eggs
3 pears
3 boxes fried chicken
1 bag broccoli

package of recycled paper napkins
large roll of toilet paper
xmas tree base blanket
xmas lights
Paris Hilton shower gel and body lotion
Sparkling White Diamonds shower gel and body wash
Olay foundation
Almay clear complexion foundation
Revlon foundation and lipstick
Fingernail polish
3 bars Dial soap
jar of texturizing hair matte
moisturizing body lotion
vanilla and lavender scented candles
50ct box large envelopes


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