Friday, March 12, 2010

CSI: San Francisco Bathroom

I had occasion recently to visit the bathroom at CSI: San Francisco (otherwise known as Congregation Sherith Israel). The synagogue's building was built in 1904, just before the big SF earthquake of '06. And it survived (whew!). In addition to a beautiful painted dome upstairs, with an organ and some lovely stained-glass work, they also have this nifty ladies' restroom on the ground floor.

As you can see, there is a whole powder room before you even get to the bathroom part of it. Above, you can see the make-up/touch-up area, with a big mirror, curlicue chairs, and bottles of lotion.

There is also a huge couch, a chair, full-length mirror, and fresh orchids. Not too shabby. The major bonus of this set-up, though, is the fact that, when the line gets long, you just wait in here, instead of standing around in the hallway.

In the next room, which is not as big, there are sinks, a stained-glass window, and a baby changing station, cleverly located near the heating unit, which is a good thing, because these big old buildings are hard to keep warm.

In the third section, there are toilet stalls. And the architects somehow managed to cram a significant amount of them into a fairly small space. So even though it's a little cramped, there's enough for everybody. And the doors are even on automatic springed hinges, so they stay open when they're not locked - no guessing or checking under the door to see if someone is in the stall.

I think the details in the whole bathroom are just lovely, like these charming and oh-so-unnecessary embroidered cases for the tissue boxes. Kind of makes you want to blow your nose and wipe that little tear forming at the corner of your eye because it's just so beautiful.

They also have a very nice "modern" bathroom in the building annex next door, but you know, I think this one just has so much charm. It reportedly has had its attention, back in the day. And, as I hear it, the men's loo is not nearly so special. In fact, given that, I think this one makes up for those tricked out men's rooms from the America's Best Restroom competition. No pool tables or shoe-shine stations here. I think the building designers knew where the priorities were when it came to restroom facilities. And I'm all about the powder rooms, so this is going down as one of *my* favorites.

Check it out if you're ever in the area!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Detective Toilet Cam

I love Law & Order. Specifically, I like Law & Order SVU. It's not sketchy, I swear! Oh, and I write a blog about toilets - #$%@&! Crap. Well, whatever. It's not sketchy. But those two things are both, admittedly, potentially sketchy. And what do you get when you combine two potentially sketchy things that I like to do? *Magic*

Witness Exhibit A - Law & Order SVU: Year Five, Episode 25 (last episode). They really went out with a "bang" that year. I haven't even watched very far past the intro, and I had to stop and write this. So there won't be any spoilers. Unless you want to be surprised by the intro, in which case, STOP READING!!

The show begins with - and this is where the TP part comes in - a perp who installs a mini-cam into a public toilet. I know, I know, gross. Even I think it's gross. I am not here to commend the installation of waterproof cameras in public places where the sun don't shine. It's just not OK.

What I do commend, however, is the wanton use deadpan toilet puns in the script. For instance, the squad Captain calls the installer of the camera the "potty perp." And the intro, which often ends with a clever one-liner, did not disappoint. Since the high-tech gadget was a wireless transmitter, set up to stream the illicit video directly to someone's computer, Detective Stabler (Chris Meloni), observed that they would be looking for the "guy who downloaded the most crap."

Ah, writers of L&O SVU, I <3 you.

UPDATE: Of course, as you might expect, the entire episode becomes more sordid after that (if you can imagine). The potty-cam turns out to be just the entrée to the "real crime," and after about 10 minutes, we don't see that guy again. But it all starts with technology getting into the wrong place, as it were. So, not to inspire paranoia or anything, but if you do happen to be in a public bathroom and you see a miniature camera pointing at you, maybe try and find a different stall. Or at least be decent and cover the thing up.

That's our public service announcement for the day.

Thanks for listening!