Knowing how to use the three sea shells


“How’s that damn three seashell thing work?” ~ Sylvester Stallone as John Spartan in Demolition Man

I am always thinking about how to do things smarter and easier.  When things irritate me, I think, “how can I avoid this irritation?”  That’s why, for instance, I created a whole series of ranting articles on my Pet Peeves.

But one I failed to document in my rant on bathrooms is the whole process of using toilet paper.  Why aren’t they entirely replaced by bidets?  I dunno, maybe there’s an issue with getting dry that takes longer, but why reach in there if you don’t have to?  Why waste paper when you can waste water, and be all the cleaner?

Demolition Man is one of my favorite movies, for a lot of reasons, even though Larry is incredulous every time I mention it (he can’t imagine that any Sylvester Stallone movie might be in someone’s top 10, so I won’t mention my love for Rocky III).  Anyway, in Demo Man, Stallone’s character is re-awakened from cryogenic sleep in the future, and toilet paper is replaced by “the three sea shells.” He doesn’t know how to use them, and is mocked by a fellow police officer.  The movie never tells you how the shells work, so it’s left up to your imagination.  If it’s a bidet, it’s probably temperature, water on/off, and dry on/off.

Another observation about toilet paper – my company must buy the Costco brand – the paper I purposely do NOT use at home because it is impossible to get a new roll started – the combination of the cheap paper and the adhesive they use forces me to mangle the damned thing trying to get it started.  So we buy the more expensive branded kind.

Neorest I betcha there are all kind of toilet paper and toilet innovations that are yet to be created, or have been created and haven’t reached the mainstream populace yet.  I mean, the implementation of waterless urinals at my local movie theater, purported to save 44,000 gallons of water EACH a year, was cool.

If you have the money, you can always buy the TOTO Neorest 600, a high tech toilet with a 6-button remote control (I guess you need more than three sea shells) which can be yours for a mere $3600.  It does just what I propose – has a built in bidet and dryer, so no tp needed.  Now, if they could get the price down under $500, it might take off.

Thoughtful design in everyday things


Design is intelligence made visible.  ~ Alina Wheeler

I have the opportunity to look at this lock a few times a day, and I noticed a few intriguing things about it.

First, it employs one-way screws – you can screw them in, but you can’t take them out!  Well, not without special methods, like using a Dremel tool to cut a slot in them so that a normal flathead screwdriver can remove them.  Ingenious!

I love smart designs that solve problems, like the new “spill proof” lips on detergent and side-cut can openers.  If you do too, you might like to read Cool Tools on a regular basis. 

Progress A second thing I noticed about this lock is the unique diamond shape of the slide-lock.  They could have made it square, but I betcha they save tons in metal costs by using this design.  And it’s probably just as strong, maybe stronger.

It makes me ask myself – where can I work smarter rather than harder?  My mom always said I was lazy, which may be partly true, but also, I am always looking for more efficient ways of doing things -as this poster from a woot contest says nicely.

My thoughts exactly.

I hate dirty jobs – actually, most manual labor


“I’m going to cross this off the list and never come back here again.” ~ Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs

I hate manual labor.  I am not really built for it mentally.  Don’t get me wrong, I can do it, but I don’t get the same kind of satisfaction others seem to.  And when I was young, I wasn’t’ built for it physically either.  My first job at age 13 was as a farmhand, shoveling manure and stacking hay bales.  Except I couldn’t really lift a 60lb. bale over my head, and I was allergic to both they hay and the cows.  Like asthmatic.

Anyway, I showered last night, and I knew that the drain was getting slow – this morning I found out how slow – the water from that last shower was still sitting there.  So, I drove to the hardware store and got some Drano gel, a then came home, grabbed a wrench and a kitchen knife and got to work.

The good news is, I didn’t nick, bruise, burn, or crush any body parts, and I was able to un-ick the drain without having to break the seal on the snake I bought as backup in case the Drano failed. 

Afterward, I took this pic of my instruments of unobstruction, then used some digital filters to make them glow and show up in reverse color.  A plunger never looked so good – maybe this is what they look like on Pandora (the planet in Avatar).

Tron Lav


“Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the Users will receive
the standard substandard training that will result in your eventual
elimination. Those of you who renounce this superstitious and hysterical
belief will be eligible to join the Warrior Elite of the MCP.”  ~ Sark

Can you guess what this picture is?  No, it’s not a building, it’s actually the lavatory floor from inside the stall.   TMI?  Even the mundane can be artful. 

But I find the bathroom an overlooked subject.  I spend a good amount of time in the bathroom – no medical problems, I’m just one of those people who’ve always spent too much time on the can – wives-tales of hemorrhoids be damned!  So you’ll see more than one pic reflecting one of the most sacred rooms in the house.

I took this in the corporate bathroom at work, then used a cool filter to Tronize it – this is how I imagine the stalls in Tron – maybe they’ll show that in the upcoming Tron Legacy movie (trailer), I can’t wait!

MCP:  Program, what are you doing in there for so long?

Program: Err, sorry, just purging some data.  You know, input/output, heh heh.