Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

December 29, 2007

Music makes me lonely

Filed under: recycling,reusing — theburts @ 3:21 am

Seriously. I’ve had music on in the apartment for less than an hour and I’m seriously lonely! Ok, I guess I should also mention my wife is out of town. That might have something to do with it. Dang, girl, I miss you. At least we’re only apart for a night this time…I don’t think I could handle much more than that. :)

So neither of us have updated the blog in a while, so I thought I’d do just that. Then I might go check a couple dumpsters later on. We’ve used quite a bit of canned vegetables lately so I could restock a little. Oh, speaking of recycling, check out our new music box. It is an actual box, cardboard, that I just finished. I did an AWFUL job. My original goal was to use 2 liter bottles to hold the 2 speakers in a sealed tube, then fix the controller portion between the 2 speakers. It would have looked very recycle-ly futuristic. It was becoming quite difficult, though, and I realized that it wasn’t going to look great in the end, so I gave up and threw it in a box. :)



Eek, that second picture looks kinda like a bomb. Yikes.

It sounds great, too! Well, I’m sure you can tell a difference in my music box and the $150 Best Buy version. But mine is so much cooler. :) Seriously, though, I love making stuff like this out of things I already have. It’s probably one of my favorite hobbies…if you can call that a hobby. Eventually, when we grow tired of this one’s ugliness, I may make a little wooden box and cut holes where the speakers will sit in. I couldn’t do that now cause my saws (specifically jig or scroll) aren’t with me.

I can imagine, 10 years down the road, when Amanda and I have a 7 or 8 year old boy or girl (or two), that I will enjoy doing things like this with our kid(s). It won’t necessarily teach them a vital trade or skill, but it could be great “dad time” doing something productive and fun(ny), and would allow us to continue teaching our kids the importance of recycling.

Alright, time to check the local “goods”…and then check out! Love and peace to all.



December 17, 2007

Ha, we’re on the front page!

Filed under: dumpster diving — theburts @ 9:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

How funny is that? The article was good, I thought. Colby did a very fair job of covering as much as he could about our reasoning behind dumpster diving and our convictions of waste and excess in this society with the space that he had. It was a tough decision whether or not to let them do a story about us…for several reasons. But first, check it out and let us know what you think.


Food for free? Just hit the trash

Dumpster-diving conservationists dine on discarded but edible excess

Most likely, when you need food, you go to the grocery store.

Daniel Burt and Josh Corlew do the same thing. They just head around back.


Every week, Burt and Corlew, both employed in Nashville, head to their favorite Dumpsters, pulling out everything from broccoli to limes, mushrooms to bell peppers, all under cover of the night. They’re on the sometimes-messy edge of freeganism, a culture of reuse that extends beyond empty bottles and old newspapers.

“I really don’t go to the grocery store,” said Corlew, an AmeriCorps employee, who estimated he spends $10 per week on food.

Taken literally, “freegan” is a combination of “free” and “vegan,” meaning strict adherents don’t eat or use any sort of animal products. But the national movement is more broadly about using the old before buying the new, thereby saving space at landfills and materials that would go into new products.

“It’s about finding out where there’s excess,” said Tasha McCauley, who along with fiance Jacob Gordon co-founded Nashville Green Drinks, a networking group that meets monthly to discuss green initiatives.

Gordon says he used to dive into Dumpsters more often but now is content to simply keep an eye out for items like his desk and chair set he plucked from the trash.

The Lockeland Springs couple also use online groups such as FreeCycle — think Craigslist, with everything free — and a Google community group for east Nashville residents.

McCauley recently posted a want ad for a whiteboard on the Google group and had it by that afternoon.

“It brings back that old feeling of reliance on your neighbors,” said McCauley, 26.

Burt and Corlew also pick up items such as children’s shirts and socks to donate. Large hauls, like a find of 113 cans of peanuts, usually end up in homeless shelters.

“We feel like it’s the poor that always pay for our gross excess of consumerism in the country,” said Burt, a west Nashville optometrist. “It’s just another way to recycle.”

No problem with the law

It’s also apparently legal under the Metro charter, according to Metro police department officials. Although a charter provision outlaws interfering with trash containers, it applies only to Metro equipment within the urban services district, spokeswoman Kristin Mumford said.

“You see guys digging through trash all over downtown for aluminum cans,” said Metro attorney Tom Cross, who said private business owners might see Dumpster diving as trespassing.

No one bothered Burt and Corlew on Tuesday night as they made the rounds of their favorite sites around south Nashville, filling a car trunk with food. The find of the night was a box full of floral arrangements.

“Yes!” Burt yelled, arms raised. “My wife will love me!”


December 16, 2007

Ending the year

Filed under: Just for fun — theburts @ 4:13 pm

As we draw near to ’08, we’ve got lots of exciting stuff happening in the Burt household. Well, we think so, anyway.

  • Homeless Education night. We’ve invited the Homeless Power Project to come and have dinner with us, to speak about homelessness and what we all can do about it. Amanda and I are super excited about this. It will be Thursday the 20th for any of you Nashville blog readers who might want to come. Check out http://www.homelesspower.org to learn more about what this organization does. Part of the reason why we’re hosting this event is because Amanda and I are trying to figure out what to do with some money we’ve saved. We’ve built up a little bit of money in what we call our “Acts 2 and 4 account,” and have planned on trying to use that money in a similar way that the early Christians used it…”noone claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had…and God’s grace was so powerfully at work among them that there were no needy persons among them.” We feel that if even a third of Christ’s followers would begin living by this passage, hunger would cease and homelessness would be eradicated in Nashville (not to mention the world). So Kiva’s only allowing $25 loans, and we’d rather do something more local than one of the large world charity organizations. AND we’d like to be more active with the local homeless than our random encounters with them, so we put all that together and decided to ask HPP how we could support them. I hope we’ll learn a lot and find out some good ways to use that money.
  • My school loan is almost paid off. There’s actually just $750 left and we could pay that off right now, but we’re waiting so we can throw a party right when it gets paid off. :) I know that’s weird…we want to do something with money, debt, and generosity at our party, but don’t want it to be just us being publicly generous now that our school loans are paid off. We want to find a way to involve everyone in whatever we do, whether it’s asking everyone to bring a bunch of coins and finding something to do with them…paying off some stranger’s electric bill, passing money out to strangers, I have no idea. We’re still brainstorming. But I think it’d be fun to celebrate a debt relief by concentrating not on how much more money we’ll HAVE, but how much more we can GIVE once we’re free from debt. Make sense?
  • Our long term plan (for right now) is to continue to live in the apartment for another year to year and a half and try to pay off the mortgage. Then we’ll really consider getting our own place, whether that be an old apartment building we can fix up or a few acres just outside of town to start a community garden or a duplex or who knows what. That plan may change if something great comes up…we’ll keep revisiting our ideas on a home/property as we go along. We will “probably” wait until we have something like a yard to get a dog. Sad for us, but probably the best idea.
  • Amanda and I decided to start eating more healthily at home, and so we’re trying something new. It will go something like this…Tuesday nights we’ll eat an apple and some peanut butter, an orange, and maybe one other thing. Every Wednesday we will eat rice, one cup of vegetables each, and split a chicken breast. And that will become routine, so that at least 3-4 nights we know what we’re eating and it’s a very small, simple to make, healthy, and inexpensive portion. How does that sound to you guys? We just know that, when we get in the kitchen to start cooking, we usually end up with too much food. There’s leftovers, of course, but we tend to eat too much when it’s there.
  • Small things…free movie screening this next week, going to my parents’ next week for Christmas, and her parents’ the next weekend for just a day and a half, only 2 more weeks of working at SEE, and Josh and I had a newspaper article done about us dumpster diving…I’ll post it when it comes out in the paper.

Bye for now! Off to church, then eating leftovers, then listening to NPR’s Prairie Home Companion hopefully while my fabulous wife/barber gives me a new do…who knows. Much love to all.

December 8, 2007


Filed under: Just for fun — theburts @ 10:05 pm

It’s been a long time with no updates on our life, so I figure I’ll ketch you up. (and yes, I’m aware of the mistake)

I like lists, so I’ll start that way and see where it goes.

  • Amanda went to Chicago for work, and I followed her for the free hotel room / mini vacation. It was great fun, we went to some museums, ate Chicago style pizza, went to German market and Greektown, Hancock observatory, and most of it paid for by her work per diem allowance.
  • We are getting a dog. Yay! (Amanda typed this one in here secretly while I was seeing a patient, but I’ll leave it because it made me laugh. We still haven’t decided at the Burt household whether we’re getting a dog yet or not, so my wife constantly says in pitiful pouty puppy face “I want a dawg.”…we both want one, so we’ll see.)
  • Less than a month left of working at SEE! Starting January, I’ll be working no more than 5 days a week, unless I decide to volunteer to give eye exams to the homeless on my other day off. So I’m very excited about the possibilities….and about the not working 6 days a week part.
  • We’ve been attending a United Methodist Church for the past few weeks, and have learned a lot about a lot of stuff. Some of that is our own attitudes. We’ll get into that later. But it’s been nice to visit a smaller congregation where people actually noticed that we were there.
  • We’ve also been going to a small group hosted by Jody and her roomate Jessica. Been having a good time hanging out with other folks, and continuing discussion on how to follow Christ’s footsteps. Next week, that group will take us to the nursing home of Bordeaux to pass out handmade Christmas cards and try to make music. :)
  • School loans REALLY close to being paid off. A few weeks left……exciting!!!

That’s about all I can think of for now. Sorry for the long hiatus. We’ll try to be back more regularly now. Love and peace to all our blog followers.


December 3, 2007

Dumpster Diving Hilarity

Filed under: dumpster diving — theburts @ 6:23 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve found some strange things in dumpsters. But yesterday proved to be one of the most interesting. Here are some pictures.


A 7-quart crockpot, air conditioner (not sure if it works yet, though), a heavy plastic storage cabinet thing I put together this morning, electric powered chainsaw (the blade was off track, but I fixed it and it works fine now), paper shredder that I needed for work anyway, and a bunch of fruits and vegetables. Oh, also a sleeping bag and a bunch of children’s underwear that we’ll probably give to SafeHaven. Isn’t that crazy??? And all from a grocery store!

Here’s a fun picture to end on. Somehow I think I’d look scarier if I wasn’t in dress pants and an undershirt. And if I had big muscles. Oh well.

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