Green living goes out the window…

…when you’ve got to move all of that shit. The winter term at PSU ended this week, and after they wrapped up their finals students from around the world vacated their dormitories and set off back to their homes. In the process, they threw away a lot of shit that really shouldn’t hit the landfill quite yet.

The combination of laziness and ignorance of the value of things means people send a lot of really nice stuff to the dump. Add in the pressure of having to fly home with only what will fit in your suitcase, and they start acting downright irrationally. Mix in the lack of foresight young adults are famous for, and the behavior around move out time starts approaching mass mental break territory.

If you happen to have a stable housing situation and live near a college campus, you can harness this insanity to your benefit. I made the rounds at some of the dumpsters around campus as I was going about my day, and came out with a decent haul. The only work required was taking a walk on an uncharacteristically nice spring day, and silencing my inner germophobe as I scaled the sides of the bins to get a better angle at the goods within.

The fruits of this labor were many:
-A Samsung Q70 laptop with its power supply. It wouldn’t boot (from what I can tell the integrated video card failed), but it has many salvageable parts, and the hard drive was helpfully pre-loaded with a considerable quantity of pirated music and pornography.
-A box full of camera gear.
-Lots of textbooks that I passed on but were quickly picked up by others, and enough paperbacks to net $20 in credit at Powell’s. Quickly redeemed to pick up Xerography Debt #29, The East Village Inky #47, and the compilation book of Scam #1-4.
-A D-Link DI-524M router/wireless access point.
-More office supplies than you can shake a stick at.
-A few baking trays, one of which was in fact brand new.

I could have fed myself for several weeks off of the vast quantities of still sealed packaged foods I found, but I had to draw the line somewhere. A kitchen could have been outfitted several times over with the cookware, cutlery, and flatware that had been thrown away. Several new in box pieces of Ikea furniture would have gotten a start on furnishing the rest of an apartment, not to mention the various used pieces of furniture to be found.  And of course, there was a small mountain of clothing, which at least a few people were decent enough to bag separately and set off to the side.

I only checked out the outdoor, publicly accessible dumpsters. I know Broadway hall has one somewhere inside that the trash chutes dump into, but didn’t feel like getting my B&E on, even though I’m sure the pickings would have been good. There are also countless near campus apartment buildings that likely experience a similar exodus of students and the accompanying orgy of waste. Here’s a quick map of the sites I did hit up:

Anyway, I guess the moral of the story is this: Stop being so goddamn lazy, and donate your still useful housewares to Goodwill or something. Take the computers to Free Geek, or just leave them anywhere other than the dumpsters. Same with the other electronics. There are a lot of folks who do without and would love to have that stuff. Just tossing it in the trash is a despicable display of laziness and callous disregard for not just your fellow man, but the planet as well.

History in The Bins

So today I decided to take a trip out to the Goodwill Bins. It’s a pain in the ass to get to, so I don’t visit that often, but when I do I hope for the kind of stuff I found today. A lot of the regulars are there to scrape stuff to resell, which I can respect. But that’s not my goal when I hit up those blue plastic troughs. I’m often after the occasionally bizzare, sometimes personal, and always interesting documents that are only brought to light when someone donates an entire household’s worth of accumulated junk to one of the largest charitable thrift store chains in existence.

Amidst the easily dismissed and disturbingly sticky mass of trash that is one of the toy bins, I found a cache of such things. The tattered stack of newspaper clippings and heavily creased newsletters seemed to be part of a larger collection of ephemera, but in all my scouring of the surrounding bins I found nothing similar. What I did take home was three issues of “The Maintaineer”, a newsletter put together by members of the 10th Armored division maintenance battalion in Georgia, dating to the summer of 1942. With the newsletters were a few clippings from the Seattle Times dated early in 1945, all concerning action by the 10th in Bastogne, Belgium. The last object was a Japanese issued Phillipine ten centavos note, with holes punched in it which seem to be typical of notes given to soldiers as souveneirs after the end of the war.

I’ve scanned the Maintaineer issues, which can be found linked below. They’re an interesting snapshot of a very different time and place.
Volume 1, Number 1 (August 17th, 1942)
Volume 1, Number 3 (August 22nd, 1942)
Volume 1, Number 4 (September 5th, 1942)

On the road in Portland

I’m far from an advocate of the automobile as a primary mode of transportation, but I still love me some vintage cars. Here’s some neat ones I’ve spotted in the wild.

T3 Volkswagen bus with a woody kit… As far as I know there wasn’t any kind of option for this (though you could get factory woody kits on American cars up into the 80s; there’s a factory turbocharged, woody kit, K-car wagon in one of the Portland Pick-n-pull lots). Someone put a lot of effort into this thing.

1951(pretty sure anyway) Chevrolet pickup with a utility bed. Digging the vintage visor.

Kinda doubt the bed is as old as the rest of the truck but the period tail lights are a nice touch.