Saving Surplus Produce, and Growing Mushrooms in Coffee Grounds

June 3, 2013 at 10:15 am | Posted in Deals | 4 Comments
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A new partnership between supermarkets and a savvy startup is saving consumers lots of cash, making the earth a greener place and keeping good food from becoming landfill. In other words, it’s a scavenger’s triple-decker dream come true.

Andronico’s Community Markets, a group comprising five supermarkets, signed on six months ago with FoodStar, a Bay Area outfit that reduces waste and food costs by selling less-than-perfect produce at extremely low prices. FoodStar locates and acquires bruised, blemished and otherwise second-string fruits and vegetables that would typically be categorized as “surplus,” allowing farmers to receive payment for these goods and allowing the goods to appear in supermarkets at steep discounts. These deals are noted at the FoodStar website and are clearly signposted at the stores; check out these potatoes at Andronico’s in Berkeley:

foodstar potatoes

“While selling from the same open bin of apples that the grower sends to us may seem simple, it actually represents a significant departure from how things are normally done in the grocery business,” explains Andronico’s executive director of marketing Jonathan Packman. “By eliminating the labor cost and case packaging normally involved in merchandising apples, we can offer a much lower retail price to our customers.

Phase two of the partnership involves “flash sales” on surplus produce that is already stocked in stores. Such produce is placed in FoodStar bags and sold for fifty cents a pound, across the board.

“Ron Clark, Food Star’s manager, has had a long-standing relationship in the produce industry in Northern California, and taps into his network to find solid ‘opportunity buys’ when they come up,” Packman explains. “He looks for recently picked crops that might be partially comprised of below-grade produce. This product is perfectly wholesome, but it may not meet the retail food industries standards for aesthetics. This is the type of opportunity that Ron seizes upon.

“Both FoodStar and Andronico’s benefit financially, but aside from them and the consumer the real winner is society and the planet,” Packman adds. “By developing this innovative program, food waste is prevented, and this helps to keep food prices lower, while keeping food out of landfills.

“Landfills are expensive to operate and when they are full they need to be shut down, capped and closed and new landfills need to be sited.  It is in everyone’s best interest to limit the amount of land that has to be dedicated to landfills.  Also, since agriculture tends to be energy intensive, utilizing food that would normally be wasted reduces pollution and climate change by taking advantage of what has been grown.”

FoodStar expects to form partnerships with more supermarkets this year.

The photograph above, showing the FoodStar bargain potatoes, includes yet another scavenging story. At the left of the photo is a rack of Back to the Roots mushroom-growing kits. These kits are the dreamchild of Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora, who were UC Berkeley seniors a few weeks away from graduation when they got the idea of home-growing mushrooms in scavenged coffee grounds.

After growing an experimental bucket of oyster mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds in a frat-house kitchen, the pair raised interest from Whole Foods and Chez Panisse and garnered a $5,000 social-innovation grant from the UC Berkeley chancellor. Their first product was the Grow-at-Home Mushroom Kit that appears in this pic.

Don’t Throw It Out!

October 20, 2009 at 7:23 am | Posted in Tips | 18 Comments

reused-paper-envelope-tutorialOur friend David sends along this link to a recycled-paper craft idea from Greenprophet, a site covering environmental issues around the Middle East:

“With all of the colorful designs on a lot of junk mail catalogs and solicitations, many of them can make unique envelopes. They are extremely easy to make, and these one-of-a-kind, funky envelopes are sure to put a smile on your addressee’s (and maybe even your postman’s) face.

For this project you will need:

1 sheet of junk mail paper or 1 sheet out of a junk mail catalog



Card/Letter you want to put in the envelope

1. Place the item you want to mail (the card or letter) on the center of your junk mail sheet. Make sure that the side of the paper you want to appear as the outside of the envelope is facing down.

2. Fold the sides of the sheet in around the card or letter – fold straight creases along the top, bottom, left, and right. This should create a grid-like pattern of folds on the sheet. (See the picture on the right.)

3. Use your scissors to cut out the four corners that were created by the folds. This should leave you with a cross-like shaped paper that has a center for the card or letter you want to mail and 4 flaps surrounding it. (Check out the picture on the left.)

4. Glue one of the larger flaps to the two side flaps to create a pocket for the item you want to mail. Once the glue has dried, place your letter in and seal the envelope by gluing the remaining flap closed.

If you are hand-delivering this envelope, then you don’t have to worry how sturdy your paper is. But if you plan on mailing the envelope (especially if it’s to an international location), then you may want to line the inside of the envelope with some additional junk mail paper. Magazine or catalog papers can be beautiful, but they can also be thin so before gluing the flaps closed in step 4, glue a cut out piece of paper that is slightly smaller than the main section of the envelope to the inside.”

Freebies Aren’t Free, According to the FTC

October 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Posted in News | 7 Comments

USA_federal_trade_commission_001Back when was still brand-new, I searched the Web for other blogs on similar topics. It struck me then that a lot of blogs with “green” and “eco” and such in their names had a LOT of threads enthusiastically praising products. Like … ready-to-eat vegan food. Clothes and decor made from recycled materials. Low-energy gadgets. I wondered why, if these sites were ostensibly about a certain kind of minimalism, they kept promoting merchandise to buy. Not that I’m a minimalist myself – I’m just not into shopping, especially when it involves paying retail for brand-new items.

At the time, I suspected that those threads on those blogs had something to do with free merchandise having been given to the bloggers in exchange for online publicity. Turns out I guessed right, and now the Federal Trade Commission is getting involved. Revisions to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising announced today specify that “material connections” (such as or free products) must be disclosed by those who promote these products: ” The revised [guidelines] specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

According to ReadWriteWeb, “bloggers who fail to disclose that they have received freebies when they write about a product can now be fined up to $11,000 per post. … Because these posts are now officially considered endorsements, bloggers who receive freebies must now disclose this fact on their sites.” Nonetheless, “blogging Payola is unlikely to go away completely because of these new rules.”

Oh, This Is Just Awful

October 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

The owner of a thrift shop in Stafford, Virginia was found murdered in his shop on Thursday. According to MyFoxDC:

“The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the murder of a shop keeper found dead Thursday morning. The victim is a well-known businessman and respected father and husband, 66-year-old Jimmy LeRose.

“His murder has sent shock-waves through the rural Virginia community. Police are still looking for the killer.

“There are bullet holes in the door of The Second Time Around Thrift Store, and a sadness is now setting in on this community.

“‘It’s horrible. Words can’t describe what a wonderful man he was and the kind things he did for everyone in the community,’ said Rhonda Mirvine, a family friend.

“It happened off of busy Warrenton Road. The thrift store sits next to the new Wal-mart

“The Stafford County Sheriff’s office says LeRose was killed as he opened his store early Thursday.

“Police say Mr. LeRose had gone to his store, located at 1183 Warrenton Road, at about 6:00 a.m., as was his custom. A family member found him dead at 8:13 am.

“Michael Carter has known LeRose for nearly 30 years and rents a house from him next door to the thrift shop.

“‘Total shock that something like this would happen– especially to someone like Mr. LeRose. I don’t know why they had to shoot him. He was the most friendly, outgoing, warm, gentle person you would ever meet in your life,’ said Carter.

“Family members say LeRose was shot in the back and the bullet came out his chest during a robbery.

Friends say the man never kept more than $100 in the store. They also say there was no need to rob him– he was usually very giving.

“With the economy being like it was, people would come in and say, “Jimmy can you buy this from me? I need cash.” Jimmy would buy it,” said Carter.

“Friends say LeRose was a fixture in the community and went out of his way helping people out. He didn’t run the store to make money– he simply liked staying in touch with his neighbors.

“‘He was retired. He was looking for something to do. He didn’t have to come here every day. He wanted to get out of house and talk to people, meet people,’ said Mirvine.

“The sheriff’s office is hoping someone saw who was near the store between 6 and 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

“The brutal crime has shaken everyone. The loss of such a beloved community member makes it even worse.

“I know he would have given them the money and let them go out the door. Why they did what they did is unbelievable. The whole family is devastated,” said Carter.

“The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information that may help identify the person or person responsible for this crime, or anyone who saw what happened at the Second Time Around Thursday morning to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (540) 658-4400.”

Recycled Construction Materials Part of Embarrassing Story

October 16, 2009 at 9:19 am | Posted in News | 6 Comments

glcOuch! This scavenging-related project in London’s Islington district is cringeworthy:

“Red-faced council realises ‘G’ doesn’t always stand for green,” reads the headline in today’s Islington News:

“It was hailed as ‘another green first for Islington’ when it opened to a fanfare two years ago.
Celebrity experts in ‘urban eco chic’ used recycled water bottles, floorboards and natural paints to create Islington’s Green Living Centre [depicted at left] –- a shining beacon of the borough’s green credentials.

“So there were red faces amongst council politicians last week as it was revealed the centre is housed in the worst building in Islington for energy efficiency. … 222 Upper Street, where the Green Living Centre is situated, has topped the government’s new energy ‘Sin list.’ …

“Blustin Heath Design, set up by ITV presenter and writer Oliver Heath, won the contract to design the Green Living Centre’s interior in 2007.

“The team used recycled floorboards for the exhibition panelling, recycled plastic tables and natural paints. The pièce de résistance was the low energy light, made from 1,200 recycled water bottles, lit by ‘gently twinkling fibre optic lights’ to attract visitors inside.”

But “all public buildings have now been issued with Display Energy Certificates (DECs) that rate the operational energy efficiency of a building on a scale from A to G,” and the old building housing the Green Living Centre “is rated G, the lowest rating possible on the scale. It scored 264, nearly doubling the G rating threshold of 150.”

Now, That’s a Great Use for Technology

October 14, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Deals | 5 Comments

cocktail151A blogger in Oakland, California has embarked upon a project that scavengers worldwide — if they have techno skills — might consider adopting for their own regions. The clever guy behind Sweeeeet Oakland has created a Happy Hours and Bottomless Mimosas Google Map pointing out Oakland-area bars and restaurants that offer these irresistible cheap-food-and-drink deals.

One sushi place on his map offers 99-cent draft Sapporo; another offers all-you-can-drink sake for $3.50; another place offers 40 percent off on all cocktails.

Take public transit afterwards, won’t you?

Killers Use Yard Sale as Alibi

October 12, 2009 at 7:34 am | Posted in News | 2 Comments

After committing a bloody and senseless murder in New Hampshire eight days ago, four teens brought their victim’s jewelry to a mall’s “cash-for-gold” shop and claimed they’d bought it at a yard sale, according to yesterday’s Union Leader:

“In a case so apparently random and vicious as to have stunned the state and grabbed the attention of the nation, four teenagers — Steven Spader and Christopher Gribble of Brookline, and William Marks and Quinn Glover of Amherst — are accused of entering Kimberly Cates’ home at 4 Trow Road [in Mont Vernon, NH] around 4 a.m. last Sunday with a plan to rob and murder.

“In the early morning hours one week ago, Cates died in a flurry of machete strikes and knife slashes. Her 11-year-old daughter, Jaimie, was slashed in the throat but managed to call police, and is now recuperating at a Boston hospital.

“Almost as chilling as the attacks themselves: What followed was something at least resembling normalcy on the parts of the accused. Around noon that Sunday, Marks entered the Mobil gas station on Route 101A in his hometown, filled up gas and grabbed a pack of Newport 100s, as he had many times before….

“The clerk, who declined to give her name, said Marks came to the store about twice a week and always bought the same cigarettes. She said he entered the store alone Sunday, but she didn’t know whether anyone else was outside waiting for him. Also on Sunday, Gribble, 19, and Spader, 17, went to a Cash for Gold kiosk at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua and sold rings and necklaces, according to the clerk there, who also declined to give her name: ‘They just came with smiles on their faces and said, “We got this gold at a yard sale,”‘ the clerk said last week. ‘They didn’t even look like anything had happened,’ she said. ‘I didn’t even think that they had stolen it.’

“The clerk said Gribble and Spader were at the mall with two girls. After learning the identities of the girls, the New Hampshire Union Leader contacted them, but both refused comment.

“On Monday, the day after the attacks, Marks, 18, and Glover, 17, attended class at Souhegan High School in their hometown.

“But that’s when any sense of normalcy began to erode.

“According to Christa Dacus of Amherst, whose daughter had been a good friend of Glover’s, Glover was seen crying in school, and police were able to home in on him and his friends after Marks told a fellow student about the murder. That student called police, Dacus said.

“Spader and Gribble each were charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder; Marks and Glover charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and armed robbery.”

Canoe, Vintage Condom Donated to Thrift Shops

October 8, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Posted in News | 2 Comments

denturesWhere else but at would we read this article about zany donations to English thrift shops (aka charity shops) run by the People’s Dispensity for Sick Animals organization?

“Freeze dried ice cream for astronauts, a canoe and an emergency distress flare all feature among the most bizarre items donated to PDSA charity shops during the past year. In among the daily donations of clothing, books and bric-a-brac, the leading veterinary charity has received a wide range of weird and wonderful items recently, from the quirky to the downright dodgy.

“A deadly Samurai sword was one of the more frightening donations pulled from a PDSA pink collection sack and was immediately handed to police. Other dangerous donations included live rifle rounds, replica handguns and an emergency distress flare.

“PDSA’s top ten list of bizarre items:
Freeze dried astronaut ice cream, vacuum packed (Leeds)
Canoe, including paddles (Morriston, Wales)
Emergency distress flare (Newton Abbot, Devon)
Shower cubicle (Merthyr Tydfil, Wales)
34-year-old condom, still in its original wrapper (Kilburn, London)
False teeth (Barkingside, London and Elgin, Scotland)
Live rifle ammunition (Glenrothes, Scotland)
Mobility scooter (Shirley, West Midlands)
Samurai sword (Shanklin, IOW and Poole, Dorset)
A musical organ (Huyton, Liverpool)

“It was music to PDSA’s ears when an electric organ was donated to Huyton charity shop in Liverpool. The instrument was sold to a specialist collector in Germany who paid £700. A euphonium (tuba-like instrument), and a Fender guitar also fetched hundreds of pounds for the charity.

“The shop survey also revealed that kinky Brits donated an assortment of risqué items, including vibrators, a penis enlarger manual and a leather whip. A very old condom, with a use by date of February 1975 was given to Kilburn shop in London and a bag of blue pills, suspected to be Viagra, was found in a carrier bag at Dover shop and hastily taken to a nearby pharmacy.

“Some of the more saleable items included six Radley designer handbags, which were quickly snapped up by eager bargain hunters, raising over £300 at the Wellington shop in Shropshire. A large Canoe, including paddles sold for £30 at the Morriston shop in Wales, a collection of China dolls fetched £250 in Knowle and 500 golf balls sold for 20p each in Diss, Norfolk….

“PDSA receives no government or lottery funding and relies on the kind donations of the public to support its vital veterinary work. PDSA’s retail network of 179 shops provides a vital source of income for the charity.”

Rocking-Chair Mystery Might Be a Hoax

October 6, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Posted in News | 4 Comments

keyHorizontalThe Seattle Times tells us: “An Illinois woman who set out on a treasure hunt for buried gold coins after finding a cryptic note in an antique rocking chair may have been the victim of a prolific prankster who died more than 30 years ago.

“With help of a donated backhoe, Patty Henken recently tore up a vacant lot in Springfield, Ill., where a typewritten note signed by ‘Chauncey Wolcott’ – found in an old chair she bought at auction last November – suggested she would find a chest containing more than $250 in U.S. gold coins.

“The dig turned up nothing but bricks and old bottles. Henken planned to return Tuesday with the donated services of a man with ground-penetrating radar meant to detect any buried items, but the treasure note’s promise may already be debunked.

“An Iowa woman who read news accounts of the hunt said she knows Wolcott’s true identity: John ‘Jay’ Slaven, a notorious practical joker and coin collector who often used a typewriter in his pranks.

“Slaven used the pen name “Chauncey Wolcott” and lived for decades at the location where the dig took place, until his 1976 death, according to Betty Atkinson Ryan of Mason City, Iowa. She e-mailed a columnist for the State Journal-Register of Springfield to set the record straight.

“Atkinson Ryan told the newspaper that Slaven was her boss in the Journal-Register’s classified advertising department decades ago. She said Slaven often used a typewriter to compose some of his jokes and signed them ‘Chauncey Wolcott.’ The newspaper said archived news articles described Slaven as an actor with a ‘booming voice’ that he used in television appearances, about 50 radio shows and to narrate the annual Illinois State Fair film.

“Ryan does not have a listed home telephone number and could not be reached by The Associated Press on Sunday.

“Henken’s life got interesting in May when, while prying off the seat of a rickety rocking chair she bought at auction five months earlier, she discovered a small envelope with ‘Finders Keepers’ typewritten on it. Inside, a key was taped to a typed note. ‘This DEXTER key (number sign) 50644T will unlock a lead chest,’ the note began, before spelling out a location in Springfield – 1028 N. Fifth St. – where a chest containing more than $250 in U.S. gold coins supposedly was buried 12 feet below ground.

“The stash, the note claimed, included eight $20 gold pieces, six $10 gold pieces, five $5 gold pieces, three $2 1/2 dollar gold pieces and two $1 gold pieces.

“The undated note, signed by a ‘Chauncey Wolcott,’ included a request to contact the Springfield newspaper if the chest was ever found.

“It wasn’t.

“Henken, of Mount Sterling, Ill., said Sunday that she was disappointed there’s no closure but still was hopeful Slaven may have left something to unearth.

“‘My friends feel like I was cheated out of finalizing this,’ said the 48-year-old Henken, a window clerk at the post office in Mount Sterling. ‘There’s something down there. He wouldn’t play a practical joke without leaving me something.’

“That property’s current owners gave Henken permission to tear up the site in search of the supposed booty if they got an equal share of any find. But they pulled the plug on any more digging now that Slaven may have pulled one over on everyone.

“‘It’s done, other than me fixing up their (torn-up) yard,’ Henken said. ‘It’s been fun, though. I’d do it again tomorrow. I just hope my life isn’t so boring from now on.’

“She’s not averse to a copycat caper: ‘I fully expect to do something like this before I die,’ she said. ‘But I would leave them something to find, a clue to who I was and not leave them wondering what kind of sick person would make them do this.'”

Thrift-Shop Thief Nabbed!

October 4, 2009 at 11:07 am | Posted in News | 1 Comment

Last week, a thrift-shop thief in Ohio got two things he deserved: injury and capture! The Falls News Press of Cuyahoga Falls tells how it all went down:

“Police plan to file charges against a man who allegedly robbed a State Road thrift shop, after he is released from an Akron hospital.

“Charges against the 42-year-old Akron man were signed Sept. 29 by the district manager of Village Discount Outlet, said Police Det. Randy Tlumac. According to the police report, the man came into the store on Sept. 23 at 8:10 p.m. and forcefully stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the cash register….

“A cashier suffered a sprained left wrist while struggling with the suspect over the money, the report said. A manager-in-training told police the cashier began to chase after the robber, but the manager yelled at the cashier to get back in the store.”

Now that was one brave cashier — but the manager did right, because no theft is worth dying over.

“Several people witnessed the robbery, the report said. A customer outside the store gave police the suspect’s license plate number. Falls Police asked neighboring departments to be on the lookout, providing them with descriptions of the suspect, his car, and his license plate number, said Tlumac.

“Akron Police spotted the car around 11 p.m., Tlumac said, but the suspect fled when police tried to pull him over and crashed his car into a utility pole. The detective said the man will likely be charged by Akron Police after he gets out of Akron General Hospital. Once he is in the Summit County Jail, Falls police will file their charges against him, said Tlumac. According to Tlumac, the suspect has a broken hip. James Gosky, media director for Akron General Hospital, said he is in serious condition.”

Scavenged Chair Contains Secret Message

October 1, 2009 at 8:35 am | Posted in News | 6 Comments

imagesThis is our favorite kind of story — in which scavenging mixes with history to become a wild adventure. According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Patty Henken always thought she found great value in the rickety rocking chair when she plunked down $200 for it at an auction, figuring she could restore the century-old relic to its former charm. Five months after hauling the chair home last November, Henken spent hours in May prying the seat off it in her garage in Mount Sterling, Ill. A small envelope fluttered from it as she tossed the seat aside — ‘Finders Keepers’ typewritten on it. Inside, a key was taped to a note.

“‘This DEXTER key (number sign) 50644T will unlock a lead chest,’ the note began, before spelling out a location in Springfield, Ill. — 1028 N. Fifth St. — where a chest containing more than $250 in U.S. gold coins supposedly was buried 12 feet below ground.

“The stash, the note claimed, included eight $20 gold pieces, six $10 gold pieces, five $5 gold pieces, three $2 1/2 dollar gold pieces and two $1 gold pieces. The note, signed by a ‘Chauncey Wolcott,’ included a request to contact the Springfield newspaper if the chest was ever found. Henken finds that intriguing, thinking Wolcott perhaps has left a confession in the chest or ‘wants to give us an answer to an old mystery.’

“For now, any treasure remains elusive. A search of the site — currently a vacant lot — with a donated backhoe last Sunday came up empty, though Henken pledges to be back at it this weekend. Whatever the outcome, ‘it’s the fact that there’s a story there that’s exciting,’ Henken, 48, said Wednesday….

“The note at the crux of the mystery isn’t dated — though its insistence that the chest ‘cannot be located by metal detector’ suggests it could have been written anytime since about World War II, when the first practical metal detectors came to be.

“At the supposed burial spot, the home on the lot was torn down many decades ago. The owners of the land — retired state corrections workers Dennis and Sharon Chrans — live next door and, at least initially, disregarded Henken’s voicemail approaches as the workings of a telemarketer.

“‘We were skeptical all the way,’ Sharon Chrans recalled. But the couple eventually were swayed and met with Henken and her husband, hashing out a deal to split any costs of the dig — and the proceeds of whatever they found. Henken’s scouring of genealogy records and courthouse documents in Sangamon County, which includes Springfield, has offered no clues to anyone named Chauncey Wolcott. Dennis Chrans found no such name on his property’s abstract.

“Yet last Sunday, the dig began. A couple dozen folks showed up, many of them friends of the Henkens. Some brought lawn chairs, others drinks and snacks. A co-worker of Patty Henken’s brought a toy magic wand….

“‘It was a happy event, a party-like atmosphere,’ Sharon Chrans said.

“The women wanded the backhoe for luck, and the machine began clawing up earth and eventually turned up a cistern — something onlookers considered promising until it yielded only bricks and antique bottles. Elsewhere on the lot, the digging revealed a well too deep to really scrutinize despite their efforts to siphon out some water.

“‘Some people think it’s still down there,’ Chrans said, speculating that if the booty really does exist, Wolcott knew what he was doing by leaving it in a lead box that wouldn’t deteriorate.

“Still, everyone accepts that it all could be a hoax. Henken isn’t sweating that prospect, having lost plenty of far more relevance in recent years — a brother to brain cancer, a son in an Easter Sunday rollover crash and a nephew to leukemia. One of her sisters died of breast cancer in 1990.

“She admits the effort could be fruitless, much like the time in 1986 when TV host Geraldo Rivera and a demolition crew drew a worldwide television audience when they blasted away a 7,000-pound concrete wall of a basement chamber billed as 1930s gangster Al Capone’s vault in Chicago’s former Lexington Hotel. Even the Internal Revenue Service was on hand to lay claim to any cash or bullion — but all Rivera found was empty booze bottles and an old sign.

“The Henkens expect to resume the dig Saturday, hoping with the Chranses that there’s some resolution.

“‘I really don’t have a gut feeling,’ Sharon Chrans said. ‘We just had to try once that information presents itself. You just can’t leave it there with it just tempting you.’

“Henken isn’t willing to let it die.

“‘There may not be a penny in it, but I want to finish this. I want to complete the task this note started,’ she said. Given the recent tragedies, ‘I don’t have a lot of positives in my life. But this has kept me busy all summer, and nobody’s going to dash this for me.'”

Hope she finds that box….

Thrift Shop/Clinic to Open in SF

September 28, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Posted in News | 2 Comments

outThe HIV/AIDS foundation affiliated with Magic Johnson is opening a revolutionary new facility in San Francisco tomorrow where you can shop at the thrift store, have prescriptions filled, AND get free HIV tests. According to this press release:

“AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the US’ largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider, which provides medical care and/or services to more than 100,000 individuals in 21 countries worldwide, is honored to announce the grand opening of the Church St. AHF Magic Johnson Healthcare Center, AHF’s first ‘all-in-one’ site–and the first of its kind in the nation. In addition to the Magic Johnson clinic, the new facility includes an AHF Pharmacy, an Out of the Closet thrift store and free HIV testing–all in one location.

“California State Senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco/San Rafael) and Leland Yee, Ph.D., (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) will help AHF officially open this new venture in the fight against AIDS, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, September 30th at 10am at the new AHF Magic Johnson Healthcare Center located on 100 Church St., San Francisco, CA 94114, adjacent to AHF’s Out of the Closet thrift store….

“All of AHF’s sixteen healthcare centers–located in California and Florida–provide comprehensive, patient-centered care designed specifically for HIV-positive clients, offering access to the additional specialists, medications and services they need to be as healthy as possible. This newest facility is AHF’s fifth clinic named in partnership with and in honor of HIV-positive basketball legend Magic Johnson….

“In addition to providing specialized expertise for people living with HIV/AIDS, AHF Pharmacy also offers the community a friendly, personal and not-for-profit alternative to the large, retail pharmacies. AHF Pharmacy is a full-service pharmacy, able to fill any prescription and open to everyone–HIV-positive or not. Revenues generated contribute to caring for AHF patients as well as supporting its prevention and testing programs worldwide. As its spokesperson in print and television advertisements, actor and activist Blair Underwood has urged widespread use of the AHF pharmacy as an opportunity to help others….

“With nineteen locations throughout California and Florida–including five in the Bay Area–AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s popular and award-winning Out of the Closet thrift store chain is the nation’s largest retail fundraising vehicle for HIV/AIDS medical care. Several Out of the Closet thrift store locations offer free HIV testing services, including the Polk St. location and soon at the newly opened Oakland store. AHF is the operator of the largest non-government HIV testing program in California currently providing more than 30,000 tests this year,

“AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the US’ largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 100,000 individuals in 21 countries worldwide.”

Don’t Throw Out Those Old Pillows, Either

September 26, 2009 at 9:01 am | Posted in Tips | 3 Comments

pillowHere’s a handy tip from Green Prophet: “Pillows are made of not the best synthetic material for landfills. That plus the fact that pillow manufacturing companies recommend getting new ones every 6 months to 2 years. That can lead to a lot of unhealthy non-degradable fluff filling up our dumps.

“The good news is that there are plenty of wonderful ways to reuse your old pillows, just make sure that you wash them first…

“Use the stuffing to pad new pillows making them even firmer! Donate them to a local animal shelter. What isn’t fluffy enough for you is a pillow heaven for an unwanted puppy. Make decorative pillows for your living room and use the old pillows to stuff them. Save them for the next time you pack. Your dishes will never have a smoother move.”

Don’t Throw Those Out….

September 24, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Posted in News | 4 Comments

rollBecause now it’s … toilet-paper-roll sculptures! According to the Daily Mail:

“French artist Junior Fritz Jacquet, 30, who describes himself as a ‘creator and sculptor in paper’, then mounts his creation on steel stands and sets them loose on the art-buying world.

“The Parisian artist said his passion for paper started with school origami classes and he now takes inspiration from the unique characteristics of cardboard.

“He said: ‘I first concentrate on the construction of the eyes, then the nose, then the mouth and then the entire expression. I am trying to create funny and jovial expressions and will keep working on my technique because there is no limit to experimentation. I started to get interested in origami techniques when I was 14. At school the teacher gave us origami models to build ourselves. My connection with origami was immediate and I quickly understood that you could take it a long way from a single sheet of paper. I have perfected my technique since then. I work with every sort of paper and believe every type has its own personality. In the end, every mask is unique.'”

The Vanished Man

September 23, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Finds | 4 Comments

electronics-junk-box234Last Saturday, an ad was placed on Craigslist stating that an entire apartment in our town was being emptied and the stuff would be put out for free at 1 p.m. … So we two scavengers and a handful of others showed up. A cleanup team was bringing stuff out one box at a time. Some of it — like some very gross food — they poured directly into the Dumpster. But most of the stuff they set out along the sidewalk. We assumed that the tenant had died, but then talked to a neighbor who said she’d heard a rumor that the guy had simply walked away one day without paying rent, leaving everything behind.

Apartment or house clearouts are always very humanizing and interesting experiences and these, too, are a kind of spiritual thing because you are suddenly seeing someone’s life unfiltered, and by picking through their stuff you are (a) being a creepy little vermin, like a rat, but also (b) “inheriting” their things that would otherwise be thrown away and cease to mean anything to anyone.

It’s also interesting in a historical and psychological sense because all the stuff is clues to who this vanished person was. So from that apartment’s stuff, we concluded the following: that the former tenant was a very, very large man (we could tell from the size of the clothes); that he liked guns (there were holsters, ammunition boxes, and paper targets full of holes); that he liked comics (there were piles of comics, some carefully preserved in cellophane wrappers); and that he loved porn. There was soooo much porn … videos, magazines … which made us jump to the conclusion that, along with everything else, the guy was really lonely. Why do we assume that? Surely some happy and/or sexually active people who are not at all lonely also like porn. But man. There were like tons of it, mostly magazines from the ’80s.

To be honest, there really wasn’t much we wanted to take, even though it was all free. I found a couple of very large T-shirts in solid black which I might hem really short and paint with whimsical designs, which is something I’ve been meaning to do ever since I acquired (for free) a bag of fabric paints.

I also found a nice polished green stone among the guy’s belongings, which I kept. I just hope he never used it in any way connected with the porn.

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