Thursday, January 21, 2010

Best Restroom

A while ago, at a birthday picnic in the park, someone {Agent A} shared with me that there was such a thing as "the country's best restroom." Turns out this is a contest held every year sponsored by Cintas facilities services. The description of why they created the awards sounds a lot like what The Toilet Paper believes about the value of public restrooms - that they should be awesome!

Last year's winner was the men's bathroom at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee (pictured above). It's an art deco bathroom, with leaded glass tiling and - a shoe shine station? Yes, because it was a men's room only.

Here is a pretty clever article about a guy who checked out the hotel bathroom and various other "Nash Vegas" experiences. I don't quite have the full story on why the men's room is so cool that they have to post a sign outside that says it's okay for ladies to take a peek if no one's in there. And they regularly give tours to women who visit.

I remember Agent A saying something about the fact that, since it was last renovated in 1930, and the bathroom is right off the hotel's Oak Bar, I guess the bar at the time was a men's only spot. I think even the word "speakeasy" might have been said, which seems likely, given that the hotel itself was built in 1910. But it's not in any of the published articles that I found. Maybe they're trying to cover something up. But anyway...

The winner for 2009 was the Shoji Tabuchi theater in Branson, Missouri:

Pretty fancy, right? This one does include a Ladies' powder room. But the men get a hand-carved mahogany billiard table in case they, you know, want to shoot pool while they are waiting for an open urinal. Why do the men get to have all the fun in these bathrooms? But I guess I can't complain. It's better than this men's room.

For the ABR hall of fame, go here. And we can't wait to see which decorative loos are nominated for 2010!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Downsizing Stinks

Today, a columnist at the Toronto Sun announced that the newspaper will soon be undergoing toilet downsizing. Due to building renovations by the owners, employees of the paper will no longer be able to roam six stories of building in order to find a good place to "go." The columnist quoted our friend and toilet science colleague Dr. Michael Sykes over at the ICBE about the etiquette of using the loo in close quarters with colleagues. Sykes says, “There’s work life and personal life, and by personal life I don’t mean what movies you’ve seen."

True enough. But I don't get a lump of fear in my throat when I think about going to the loo in close proximity to my colleagues. Well, I guess I do a little bit. It's always a bit harrying to see your boss coming in or out of the ladies (or men's) room. I once was walked in on by my boss on the first day of work, due to a faulty door lock. That was a trial by fire. And ice-breaker of sorts. But I don't get nervous about it because everyone has to do it. At some point in the day, you will, inevitably, have to find a place to relieve yourself, and so I balance discomfort at being around people you know with convenience and shortest distance traveled.

I'll take shortest distance traveled any day. Unless the bathroom itself is located in an uncomfortable spot, like, say a lobby. But I will say, having one bathroom for an entire company can certainly build a sense of community.

Anyway, if you want to read the full article, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Day at the Outhouse

And now for our next installment of outhouse romance, compliments of Awkward Family Photos.

We're not sure what the inspiration for this photo was. Maybe they thought it would be both quaint and suggestive to have the guy happily watching as his fiancée appears to be entering the outhouse. And does anyone else think it's creepy that he's standing with his face right by the window?

But in all seriousness, I owe my existence in part to an outhouse. I kid you not. My great-great grandfather came to America, and while he was staying with relatives in upstate New York, he fell in love with his next door neighbor, whom he saw walking every day to the outhouse in her back yard. I like to think it was less of a creepy thing and more of an unavoidable voyeuristic event because he lived on the second floor and everyone had outhouses in those days. But the bottom line is: I owe my life to a toilet.

Now if that's not awkward, I don't know what is.

But maybe these "romantic" photos are not so off-base after all?

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Romantic Engagement

This one we found on Awkward Family Photos. It appears to be a couple who has just become engaged, and are celebrating this romantically by smooching between charming "his" and "hers" porta-loos. What a way to begin their life of intimacy in true love and total lack of personal privacy. Compliments of U.S. Waste.

But those are some pretty cool-looking porta-potties.

Thanks to Agent K.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This Toilet is Crap

Virginia's Toilet / Virginia Gardiner / The Bathroom Reinvented / Dwell from gary nadeau on Vimeo.

Literally. It's a toilet made of poo. We think that's the ultimate in self-reference. But that's just the introduction. This student is out to create waterless toilets, to save the world from excess flushing and transform poo into something useful.

Who knows if it will ever catch on in the Western world, but we think she's onto something. If nothing else, we feel a kinship, because she, like us, realizes how useful toilets are. but you probably haven't heard this much about poo since you were three.

We discovered this video on the World Toilet Day Facebook page. Follow the link for more information.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Musical "Chairs"

What you are looking at here is the iCarta iPod toilet paper holder. That's right, straight from the Macworld 2007 showroom floor to your sophisticated, musically-enhanced bathroom, this lovely item promises to "enhance your experience." Of what? Sitting on the toilet, we suppose? Brushing your teeth? Dancing around after a shower?

You'll notice that the two arms on the front fold in, so it doesn't technically *have* to be a toilet paper holder. That's more of an extra bonus. Like what else would you want your iPod dock to do, besides play music and charge your iPod? Darn things. Might as well make them do something useful, right?

This guy puts them all over his house, apparently, including at least two in the loo, it seems. The grammar here is a little off. I still want to know what s/he means by, "The high tech is a terrific pink for a house." But, as s/he points out, while the four integrated high-performance speakers are "moisture-free" that doesn't mean your iPod is, so he says he has to be careful when "taking a hot shower." Always recommended.

This one is from my dad - we'll call him Agent P (for Padre). And it's befitting of him, since he's always the one to know all things gadget. And this post is dedicated to Agent C in Mass., who recently suffered the loss of her iPod. RIP.