Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Celebrities in Toilet Land

Well, we all just got our fill (maybe) of celebrity-watching with the Oscars this past weekend. But here's one celebrity shot you probably didn't see on the red carpet:

World Toilet Day was actually a while ago (November 19th). But according to this Ecostilletto article, Matt Damon took a "potty break" to make a vlog with YouTube's Shaycarl (who was pretty excited to be vlogging with Matt Damon apparently) to raise money for water.org, of which Matt Damon is co-founder. Co-founder? Matt Damon? Yup. You heard that right. His pics are on the website, even. And you can watch the vlog at the bottom of the article.

Look at that - a celebrity who gives a sh*t. Aww....

And really, who can't love Matt Damon with that fabulous neckwear?

Monday, August 20, 2012

All the Pretty Colors

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't posted to the blog in a while. But I haven't forgotten about it! Every now and then I'll get an email out of the blue, or a text from a friend about an interesting toilet, or toilet-related something that they've found. And then I'll think to myself, "Hey, I should start writing on the blog again!"

Our newest, very enthusiastic Agent, VBR (the "BR" stands for Big Red, in case you were wondering, not that you were), just recently watched a BBC documentary about toilets.

And he also sends us this:

 A thermochromatic urinal, also posted on Geeky Gadgets. Neither of these sources has any information on where this colorfully interactive urinal is located, though I'd love to tell you where it is so you guys can go hang out and drink extra fluids so that you can spend the afternoon making pretty pictures with your pee...

Yes, it's a little more "people doing their business" than I normally post, but you kind of need to see it to get the full effect of the technology. And hey, why not come back with a bang? Or a whizz...

My only question is...what about splashback? I guess that's their problem, not mine.

Welcome back to the TP Blog!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Need I translate?

{Via FAILblog, and Agent AP}

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Molotch Cocktail

Whoa! Check it out: another toilet blog! It's the companion blog to the book Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing, as reviewed in the Atlantic Monthly, with a pretty spiffy slideshow.

This looks like a book the TP Blog can really get behind. It is a collection of essays by various types of scholars (historians, cultural analysts, etc.) and edited by NYU sociologist Harvey Molotch and doctoral student Laura Norén. There are 12 articles, discussing architecture, gender segregation, class, disability and "the gross factor" (i.e. issues of disgust and cleanliness). Plus that whole public versus private thing.

There are some pretty great images in the slide show. This is one of my favorites:

Such a pretty urinal! Except I wonder if it's weird to take a piss in such a beautiful flower. Or maybe you guys like that kind of thing.

See the rest of the slide show here.

{Photo: Clark Sorenson, via Atlantic Monthly and Toilet (the book)}

Thanks to Agent NH for scouting this one out!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Om nom nom nom

Aww....it's just really, really cute! I love the Shiba Inus.

{via I has a Hotdog]

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hippies Use Side Door

Some dear relatives of mine have recently moved into the area for a temporary stay, and are renting a place in a local college hippie town. The apartment isn't too unusual, but it is certainly rented to people of all sorts who stay for short periods, including, to be sure, a lot of students. The first time I visited, I did not even enter the bathroom. But when I did finally go in, I found it was a mine of interesting tidbits...

For starters, they have what I will call a "flow-through" bathroom. You remember from Lipton tea, right? That was probably even before my time, but I distinctly remember singing some sort of silly song as a kid, and my mom explaining to me the concept of the "flow-through" teabag (in order to increase brewing effectiveness, etc.) But what I mean is that there is a door on one side, and a door on the other side, so that if you happen to be on one side or the other, you can just go into the bathroom without having to walk all the way around your house to get there. Or you can go in and simply "flow through" to the other side. On the downside, you have to close and/or lock two doors, and then remember to unlock or otherwise open the other door before you leave. But still, I can see the advantages. The cat likes it, apparently.

Here is a view where you can see through one doorway into the other.

Also, another slightly odd thing about the bathroom is the way the toilet is placed, seemingly right in the middle of the floor plan. Looking at it, it's hard to see where else you would put the toilet, but for some reason it is not flush (haha) against the wall, but rather freestanding a couple inches out for reasons unbeknownst to moi. And the freestanding TP holder probably doesn't help.

Next up: The shower. If you look closely, you can see that there are two sets of knobs. One for bath faucet. One for shower. My "Aunt" (let's call her) says that this is one of the most annoying things about it, to her...

I wondered if the bathroom had always been a bathroom, or perhaps had been another type of room at some point (say, a really small bedroom?). Probably not, given the "flow-through" nature of the door arrangement. But I was noticing the way the bath and shower element seemed to be built out into the space. And I also kind of liked the archway-type detail above the shower curtain. (This was the first time my "Uncle" had ever noticed that.)

Next to the sink, they had a microfiber hand towel, which was so soft, you just wanted to keep touching it. And I kid you not, your hands would be dry in seconds, but the towel didn't seem to get wet at all. My Auntie loves it, and I must confess that I am a fan!

Finally, the bathroom chamber came equipped with this lovely sign right above the toilet. It's a pretty legit sign, actually. You could put a sign like this in almost any bathroom anywhere. But I think it's significant of the town that they are living in, which, as I mentioned, is a hippie college town. Which means it's full of people who like to save water by not flushing the toilet at all unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for saving water. And I also, on occasion, will elect not to flush, if it doesn't seem like there's much going on. But there are degrees to this approach, and I think some people take it to the extreme.

Case in point: I once interviewed at a political magazine (based in this same town), and when I used the bathroom there, I discovered an ongoing discussion taking place on a piece of paper taped inside the bathroom stall, debating the merits and detractor qualities of flushing versus non-flushing, including which type of pee was permissible to not-flush, etc. (For example "stinky pee" = flush, while non-stinky = okay to leave. But then you have to decide which is which. You get the point). So that's where this was happening. Which is why I laughed when I saw the sign. Because I knew why it was there and that, yes, some people do need to be instructed to flush the toilet every time. Because a clogged toilet, as I'm sure you know, is not a laughing matter.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Pretty Penny...

In honor of Holiday Travel, this post is dedicated to that supremely annoying, no-frills Euro airline, Ryanair. Because if all goes according to their plan, soon one of the "frills" they won't have is a toilet on the airplane that you don't have to pay for. That's right. Ryanair is hoping to charge £1 or 1 Euro for passengers to use the washroom. That's because they want to knock out the two restrooms in the back to make room for either more seats or for "standing room only" areas on commuter flights.

If they even happen, these changes would not take place until 2012 at the earliest, according to a Guardian article this past July. First, of course, the company has to pass some pretty high safety standards - but that's all having to do with the standing room issue. No one seems to be investigating the "safety" of having but one on-board restroom for an entire plane full of people with nowhere else to go (so to speak), and on top of that, charging for them to use it.

According to Ryanair, the goal is to discourage passengers from using the toilet at all. They are expecting people to use the restrooms at the airport before and after, and therefore not on the plane itself. I suppose that, flying around Europe, that is almost a reasonable request. Your flights aren't going to be more than a couple of hours long. But I can tell you that, as a person with not the hugest bladder in the world, using the loo right before I get on the plane does not guarantee that I won't have to an hour or even a half hour later. Sorry guys! Which leads me to believe that the people inventing this crazy system are all men, with enormous bladders, who believe that women who can't "hold it" are somehow weak or incapacitated. Yeah, and some of those women might even be pregnant. Great. So now you want to charge us for having a slightly different organic set-up than you, and then tell us it's our fault. No thanks, Ryanair!

But it's not only women who object to this policy. Ben Dickson of the Random Perspective has written a clever article on the topic. And there's an entire Facebook page devoted to "Links on 'Don't pay to use a Ryanair toilet - piss in their seats for free.'"

My advice? Don't take Ryanair. At the end of the day, they're not any cheaper than most other airlines - sometimes more expensive. And my experience is that they are just generally obnoxious and a pain in the neck. If you want cheap, pleasant travel from here to there in Europe, fly Easyjet. At least they haven't forgotten that, while people do enjoy saving money, they also don't like to be treated like cattle. Cattle that can somehow hold their bladders indefinitely at will.

{Photo courtesy the Daily Mail}

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Aeroport Toilets Genovese

Our brand-spanking-new Agent MMR has done some excellent reconnaissance work (unawares at the time) in the Geneva International Airport, when he was there in August of 2009. He was so impressed with the urinals in the men's room that he took a photo. "Unlike the toilet sequence from Trainspotting ('The worst toilets in Scotland'), these were clean, sanitized low flow urinals at Aeroport Internacional de Geneve," he writes.

I really like how there is one placed at a lower height. I guess for the kids and/or shorter individuals. But I'm wondering what are the horizontal bars on the tiles above each unit? Are they flush bars? Or do they somehow serve the function of getting you to stand closer, thereby improving your "aim"? Somewhat like the fly painted in the inside of the urinal, perhaps? That's pure conjecture on my part...

"Note that it was actually at the Amsterdam aeroport where the sanitary seat cover was a mechanized sleeve that spun around the toilet seat itself, relieving you of the somewhat tedious task of placing one over the lid yourself while [dancing anxiously] and then forgetting to knock out the center."

Now, unfortunately, there is no picture of the mechanized arms for seat covers, but that's something we'd really like to see!

{Photo: Agent MMR}

All Thai'd Up

Here's a little post from Agent NH:

"I wish I had taken a picture, because I saw a completely illogical bathroom the other evening. It was at Osha Thai on 2nd Street in SF, if you want to check it out. The women's restroom, when you enter it, looks like a one-person restroom, with a toilet, sink, etc. But then, tucked back around the corner, is a stall with another toilet in it. How does this ever work? I'm really curious about what design process led to that solution!"

We, too, are very curious. Maybe there used to be another stall? Maybe they had extra space, and thought, why not add another toilet in the washing-hands area? And is it even possible to lock the outside door? Or maybe it's just handy when you and a friend adjourn to the powder room together. One day perhaps we will go and check it out, and then we'll be able to offer you some first-hand pics. Or maybe our Architectural Agent NH will do us a nice little diagram ;)

{Top photo from Yelp, below, from the Osha Thai Website}