Dear Hotel Architects…


I’m not an architect, or a contractor, or even a toilet salesman… but I think I’ve found a flaw in a certain type of hotel room / bathroom setup.  I’m no germaphobe, but I believe this design to be quite unsanitary.

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What design?  The sink outside of the bathroom design.

Sure, it’s convenient to shave or brush your teeth while someone else is pooping or showering… But at what cost do we purchase this convenience?  The cost of a bazillion tiny germs all over the inside of the door handle after you wipe and before you wash your hands.  Sure, you can grab an extra wad of toilet paper for your journey outside.  How many people do that though?  How much microscopic fecal matter is already on that door handle?  Did the maid think to wipe it down?  What if you forget after you get out of the shower?  You just washed yourself, and now your hand may venture into a feculent festival of filth.

Am I doing something wrong here?  Am I missing something?  Let’s get this right so I don’t have to touch poop-encrusted (albeit microbial poop) door handles.

Ernie and the Berts “EveryBody Poops” [Video]


Have you seen this yet?  It’s a work in progress.  We need your feedback.  Comment here, on ErnieAndTheBerts.com, or on YouTube Please?

Thanks to Howler’s and their new recording setup for this awesome video!

Crop-dusting for disgusting cell-phone roaches.


This Facebook status seemed quite popular.  Thought I’d blog about it, and get some more input.  There are 2 points here that seem to universally annoy us…  People talking loudly (or at all) on cell phones in public places, and people that talk about disgusting things when you’re trying to eat.

So, I'm sitting at Chick-fil-A tonight, trying to enjoy some chicken nuggets and some chicken noodle soup... and some crazy Yinzer lady is about 4 booths away screaming into her cell phone, talking about infections, site-wounds, dialysis, and MRSA.  Besides it just being rude to be on your phone there in a public place...  Really? Everyone around is trying to eat. I wish I could pass gas on demand. I would have made several runs (pardon the pun) past her table.

So I'm sitting at Chick-fil-A...

The original text…

So, I’m sitting at Chick-fil-A tonight, trying to enjoy some chicken nuggets and some chicken noodle soup… and some crazy Yinzer lady is about 4 booths away screaming into her cell phone, talking about infections, site-wounds, dialysis, and MRSA.

Besides it just being rude to be on your phone there in a public place

Really? Everyone around is trying to eat. I wish I could pass gas on demand. I would have made several runs (pardon the pun) past her table.

Pus oozing from an abscess caused by bacteria—...

Image via Wikipedia

Click the pic above to magnify the first wave of comments, and if you want check out this old post for reference: Excuse me, I’m eating.

So, what’s your take on disgusting topics during meals, public cell phone users, and the unholy intersection of the two?

Chick Fil A 8pc Nuggets

Image by j.reed via Flickr

I hate public bathrooms.


Abandonded, dirty bathroom - Seattle

Image by StartTheDay via Flickr

Well, I’m sure everyone does to a certain extent.  I hate them for the obvious reasons of comfort/germs/privacy just like (I’d imagine) everyone else.  I mean, everyone would rather do business on their own throne & all alone, am I right?

I hate public facilities for other reasons that are somehow more annoying than the obvious…

  • They’re never stocked properly.  Okay, I guess this one’s obvious.  Sorry.  Perhaps I should also say “rarely” instead of “never”, but I’m ranting here.  If something’s not out completely, the dispenser is jammed which is worse because it’s there but you can’t get to it.  Soap? Toilet paper? Hand towels?  Who needs ’em, right?
  • TP Quality.  If I can see through it and  have to go bad enough that I’m actually pooping in a public bathroom, you can guarantee that I’m going to wad it so much that you should have just bought the better stuff anyway.
  • The “hey we cleaned it 10 min. ago” sign-in sheets.  Yeah, “cleaned”.
  • Sink design.  There seem to be a lot of sink designers out there that have never actually washed their hands.  When the faucet hangs about 2 inches over a sink basin with a large slope… my knuckles are hitting porcelain and my palms remain dry until I pull some contortionist-like moves that should probably get me into the Olympics.  Did no one think about that when the bathrooms were being built or remodeled?  No one has tried the sink out, regardless of the inevitable “Employees Must Wash Hands” sign?  Perhaps I am doing it wrong.  Is there a secret?  If there is a better way, I am but your humble student.
  • Water.  It’s never quite right, is it?  Scalding, freezing… a minor inconvenience I guess.  Most public sinks that I encounter have the all-on-splash-my-shirt setting and the just-above-a-drip setting with not much in between.  I’ll also mention the “oh no I leaned on the counter and it looks like I peed my pants” moment here.  The auto-sinks at Walmart stores feel like there’s a tiny elf with an eyedropper in there just waiting to wash your hands.
  • Foam soap is just terrible.  Quit it already.  I’m over it, and you should be too.  It dissipates so quickly & leaves my hands feeling either not clean at all at best or almost sticky at worst.  The watered-down liquid soap that was used regularly well into the late 90’s and early 00’s is just fine.
  • Technology isn’t your friend.   I’m the last person to run a tirade against technology.  But sometimes, the more there is to it, the more there is to go wrong.
    • The auto-flush toilet was probably the first to appear.  While noble, I have perfected my boot-flush and elbow-flush techniques… so I don’t need it, even if it does work.  Everyone’s heard the tale of someone who was auto-flushed upon amid doing business on the john.  No one wants to be the victim there, right?  Especially of the ones that look like a mini hurricane in a bowl.
    • The Hand Dryer.  I believe the correct ratio is 1 out of every 3 hand dryers (hot or cool) actually functions.  I haven’t done any studies, and I’m not sure if this is the factory QC acceptance level, but it seems about right.  I’m saying 1 out of 5 for the no-button auto kind.  You can quote me on this.
    • The hands-free paper towel dispenser.  Jammed, not working, empty, gives a 3″ square or enough to dry 1 finger… then takes 10 minutes to give you enough for the next finger.  So much here to go wrong.
    • The hands-free soap dispenser.  There’s no soap in it, because it’s all on the floor.  Or, if it’s an in-sink unit, there’s always a bottle of Softsoap or Dial there because the in sink unit is always empty or broken.
    • The hands-free sink.  See my previous comment about elves & eye droppers.  It also helps if the elf isn’t sleeping.
    • Pfft.  The auto your-ass-stinks dispensers make it smell like poop and flowers.  That helps.
    • What’s next?  Someday there will be butt-wiping robots or poo-burning laser beams.  I’d like to go on record now as voting against this.
  • The pee trough.  These are rare nowadays, thank goodness.
  • The Surprise.  Unfortunately you know what I’m talking about.  Stop it, people.
  • The trash can.  Full or overflowing?  Yes.  The in-sink or in-wall ones are a joke.
  • The multi-tasker.  I don’t want to hear you on your phone while you’re pooping.  The person on the other end doesn’t want to talk to you while you’re pooping.  I don’t want to talk to you while I’m pooping.  Phones and pooping do not mix.
  • The dweller.  What’s with people that just hang out in restrooms?  What are you doing besides making me nervous?  If you’re not using the facilities or freshening up… get out.

What did I miss?  I’m sure something in public restrooms annoys you too.  What is it?  Am I wrong with any of the above statements?  Have any horror stories?  Hit me with comments…

Biliruben Is the Secret


Well, someone at the Penn State Food Science department has a sense of humor.  Ha ha ha.  Have you followed my attempt to contact Galliker’s, the Yahoo! Answers question, posing the question to Turner’s, and Turner’s final suggestion?  OK, then you’re caught up… and you can read this.  I emailed the following to a bunch of people there, and as of yet have only received one reply.  Here’s the email:

from: ERiC AiXeLsyD  <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
to: foodsci@psu.edu
cc: ca3@psu.edu, xd11@psu.edu, jdf10@psu.edu, tsd3@psu.edu, sep14@psu.edu, jmw5@psu.edu, jxc16@psu.edu, moconnor@psu.edu, emills@psu.edu
date: Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 11:03 PM
subject: Blue + Brown = …Green?
mailed-by: gmail.com

Salutations Savvy Sustenance Science Scholar Staff!

I write to you today with something that has had me perplexed for quite a while.  It was recently suggested to me that you would be the the ones with the most knowledge and best skill set to deal with my query.  I of course, thought that this was a splendid idea… which is why I’m (obviously I guess) writing to you now.

Do you like “blue flavored” drinks and Popsicles?  I do.  I enjoy them quite a lot, actually.  Whether it’s the seemingly fictional blue raspberry, some sort of punch, Faygo’s Jazzin’ Blues Berry, or “Bug Juice”… I just seem to gravitate to blue colored drinks.  As of late, I’ve noticed an interesting side-effect of said blue flavored drink consumption:  For some reason, it tends to turn my feces a quite disturbing shade of green.

First, I wrote to Gallagher’s and my missive went unanswered.  Perhaps they did not find the humor in my inquiry.  Perhaps they were upset that I mentioned rival dairy, Turner’s, as having a better Iced Tea.  Perhaps they were offended that I offered to provide photos as evidence of my brightly-hued chartreuse bowel movement upon request.

Second, I posted a question to the Yahoo! Answers community, and wasn’t exactly satisfied with the answer.  I understand the general concept that what you eat determines the contents of your waste, but want a deeper explanation.  Why does the blue dye turn out so green?  Why doesn’t it come out blue?  What is going on in there?  What exactly isn’t digesting?  Does that much blue dye really need to be there?  Are my insides dyed blue or green after it comes out?  Is it harmful?  Are my intestines playing some sort of practical joke on my eyes?

In a tertiary attempt to unravel the mystery at hand, I contacted the good people at Turner Dairy Farms, and was met with a couple of responses, each unfortunately unable to answer my original question… but courteous and accommodating nonetheless.  It was a Mr. Yon & his Quality Control Manager at Turner’s who directed my attention to your esteemed department as the group that would successfully be able to provide a satisfactory explanation of the process behind the green from my behind.

I would really appreciate any insight that you may have on the situation.  Have studies been done about this phenomenon?  Has anyone ever asked you about such things before?  I have so many questions, and you’re the  education experts!  I really appreciate your taking the time to read my email, and thank you in advance for your assistance!

The Emerald Excreter,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

Perhaps it was too goofy for all the other stuffy scientists?  Maybe they’re scared of the Emerald Excreter!

At any rate, I got an amusing an informative answer (finally):

from: EDWARD MILLS <ewm3@psu.edu>
to: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 2:07 PM
subject: Re: Blue + Brown = …Green?
mailed-by: psu.edu

Eric,
Interesting question with possibly a very simple explanation.  The human eye sees green when blue and yellow light are reflected simultaneously from a surface.  Blue food dye reflects blue light.  Find a yellow dye to go with it and you could account for the observed green.

I would speculate that the blue food dye is passing through your GIT largely unchanged and is not absorbed across the gut wall. One of the more common pigments of normal stool in biliruben a yellow pigment (derived from hemoglobin or myoglobin breakdown).  Put the two together and the resulting stool might appear green.

Have a great day!
Ed Mills
814-865-2394

Win!  I did have a great day Mr. Mills, thanks to your easy to understand explanation.  Finally, the great mystery is solved!

No Prior Knowledge


Following the green poop issue that went from the terribly unfunny Galliker’s to Yahoo! Answers to Turner’s Dairy?  Well, if so, I have an answer and a suggestion from our new friend Nicholas and his Quality Control Director…

from Nicholas Yon <Nicholas@turnerdairy.net>
to ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date Wed, Aug 11, 2010
subject RE: Galliker’s vs. Turner’s?

Eric-

Unfortunately, our Quality Control Director has no prior knowledge of your coloration situation and could not find any further information beyond if the body cannot digest or absorb something it will pass through the body possibly causing a color change.  He indicated that you may want to contact the Penn State Food Science Department.  Thanks again, sorry I could not be of more assistance.

P.S. Yes I get to drive the TeaBird from time to time.  I haven’t had it out this summer yet though.

Nicholas

I think I have to write to Penn State Food Science Department now.  I wonder if they have a sense of humor?

Turner’s is much more awesome than Galliker’s. I’m just sayin’.


Not only does Turner’s produce better Iced Tea, but they’re infinitely more awesome as a company.  As evidence, I give you the following email exchange.  You might want to catch up by reading my previous exchange with Turner’s and an attempted exchange with Galliker’s.

From me to Turner’s:

from ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
to Nicholas@turnerdairy.net
date Wed, Aug 4, 2010
subject Galliker’s vs. Turner’s?
mailed-by gmail.com

hide details Aug 4 (2 days ago)

Hello Titans of Tea!

Recently I wrote to Galliker’s about their Blue Raspberry Drink, and I happened to mention Turner’s Dairy.  They as of yet have not written me back.  Perhaps they were upset that I mentioned that your tea is superior and that you have a cool Tea-bird while they do not?  You can see the full email below.

At any rate, I’ve decided to stop consuming any Galliker’s products… even though I usually have to go out of my way to get Turner’s products.  (I wish more Giant Eagle stores would carry your stuff!)

The only foreseeable problem is that I like their Blue Raspberry flavored drink.  Do you guys have anything comparable?  If so, know where I can get it in Bridgeville, Heidelberg, or anywhere in the South Hills?

Also… the main point of the email below is the odd coloration after the blue dye consumption.  Do you have anything that’s a color that may balance it out?  Science is fun!  Do you guys have food scientists in your employ?  Perhaps this would be something for them to tackle.

Thank you for your time, and have a great day!

Make mine Turner’s,
-Eric

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 26, 2010
Subject: Blue Raspberry Drink & interesting side-effects?
To: info@gallikers.com
Cc: stangeletti@gallikers.com

Hello Mighty Milk Moguls,

I’m writing today to tell you how much I enjoy your Blue Raspberry drink.  Man, it’s flavorful and gives me quite the sugar rush!  I do enjoy Galliker’s milk and juices, although your iced tea isn’t quite as good as Turner’s.  Your lime drink is also stellar… but typically we go for the blue.  I was wondering why you don’t have them all pictured/listed somewhere on the website when I looked to find a way to contact you.  It’s good to show everyone what you’ve got!  Turner Dairy has a photo of all of their products on their website, along with nutritional information.  I do enjoy the allergen information on the “Learn More” section of your site though… it’s something I take quite seriously as a person who suffers from a severe shellfish allergy.

The main reason that I’m writing to you today is to ask… why does your Blue Raspberry drink turn my poop into an odd shade of green?  It’s quite a disturbing site until I realize that I drank some of your juice in the last 24 hours or so.  Perhaps you ought to put a warning on the label?  I’d love to know the science behind it.  If you need photos, I can send them upon request.

Thank you for your time, and thanks in advance for the reply.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

It’s not easy being green,
-Eric

P.S. – Turner’s has a Tea-Bird, do you guys have the Galliker’s Gremlin or something cool like that?

Ridiculous, but after getting nothing from Galliker’s and pretty much a “you’re goofy” from the Yahoo! Answers community…  Why not? Well, it paid off. Nicholas  form Turner’s wrote back!

from Nicholas Yon <Nicholas@turnerdairy.net>
to ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date Wed, Aug 4, 2010
subject RE: Galliker’s vs. Turner’s?

Eric-

Thank you for the email and kind words.  I hope the Brentwood Giant Eagle is still providing you with a viable (albeit it a somewhat far drive) option for procuring our Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk.  We do produce a “Blue Bug Juice” product which is a blue raspberry flavored beverage (picture attached).  Listed below is a location in Bridgeville that regularly carries said product as well as a number of additional Turner’s products.  As far as the blue coloration, I’ve forwarded your email to our Quality Control Director for his insight.  He’s on vacation this week and part of next so an answer will be forthcoming but may not be for a few weeks.  He may need to discuss this with some colleagues.  Thank you again for the email and for making our higher standard yours!  Have a great afternoon.

7-11 Bridgeville
850 Boyce Road
Bridgeville, PA

Nicholas Yon
Marketing Director
Turner Dairy Farms, Inc.

From Local Farms to Local Families!

The attached picture:

Blue Bug Thirs-T

Tuner's | Blue Bug Juice

I’m easily wowed by shiny things like pictures.  Pretty neat!  I’m going to have to pick up some of this bug juice.  I hope it’s made from real bugs!  (I’d love to… but can’t bring myself to write & ask that at this point.)

And… it’s awesome that this guy remembered me form before… because I totally sent the other email from my “real” email address… not this W(aL)D one.  Granted, it’s a thinly veiled alias, but dude had to be paying attention.  Kudos for that!  Ha ha ha.

I wrote back to them, of course…

from ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
to Nicholas Yon <Nicholas@turnerdairy.net>
date Fri, Aug 6, 2010
subject Re: Galliker’s vs. Turner’s?
mailed-by gmail.com

hide details 3:05 PM (54 minutes ago)

Thank you, Nicholas, for your quick and informative reply!

I will definitely be on the lookout for Blue Bug Juice!  when I was young and went to camp, we always called the drink “bug juice”.  Good times!  I like the product by name alone.  Ha ha ha.  I can swing through Bridgeville on my way home from work.  Thanks for the attached picture!

The Brentwood Giant Eagle is a great place for me to get Charlie’s Old Fasioned Buttermilk when the craving hits.  Plus, I can use going down that way as an excuse to eat at the Brentwood Express Rowdy BBQ stand.  Ever been there?  It’s ridiculously awesome barbecue.

I really look forward to hearing from your Quality Control Director.  I mean, I can make a guess as to the reason for my query, but I’d like an expert opinion.  An answer from a committee of his peers would even be better!

I find it hilarious that your “esteemed” competition obviously has no sense of humor as a company.  It must be boring to go through life with no appreciation for anything amusing.

I just need to make it a point to stop at Rite Aid more often to get my Turner’s iced tea fix… although I wish they’d carry a larger selection of products like the juices & lime tea.

Have a pleasant weekend!

-Eric

P.S. – Do you ever get to drive the Tea-Bird?  That would make for an exciting weekend!

Hopefully I’ll hear something from this mysterious Quality Control Director and his esteemed panel of colleagues.

Blue+Brown=Green?


I wrote to Galliker’s to ask a silly question about their Blue Raspberry drink.  Apparently they weren’t amused.  Maybe it was all the Turner’s references.  Maybe it was the offer of photos?  I guess I’ll never know exactly where the line was crossed.

I couldn’t let the email go unseen or unanswered, so I turned to the Yahoo! Answers community.

Here’s the original email:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD  world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Date: Mon, Jul 26, 2010
Subject: Blue Raspberry Drink & interesting side-effects?
To: info@gallikers.com
Cc: stangeletti@gallikers.com

Hello Mighty Milk Moguls,

I’m writing today to tell you how much I enjoy your Blue Raspberry drink. Man, it’s flavorful and gives me quite the sugar rush! I do enjoy Galliker’s milk and juices, although your iced tea isn’t quite as good as Turner’s. Your lime drink is also stellar… but typically we go for the blue. I was wondering why you don’t have them all pictured/listed somewhere on the website when I looked to find a way to contact you. It’s good to show everyone what you’ve got! Turner Dairy has a photo of all of their products on their website, along with nutritional information. I do enjoy the allergen information on the “Learn More” section of your site though… it’s something I take quite seriously as a person who suffers from a severe shellfish allergy.

The main reason that I’m writing to you today is to ask… why does your Blue Raspberry drink turn my poop into an odd shade of green? It’s quite a disturbing site until I realize that I drank some of your juice in the last 24 hours or so. Perhaps you ought to put a warning on the label? I’d love to know the science behind it. If you need photos, I can send them upon request.

Thank you for your time, and thanks in advance for the reply. I can’t wait to hear from you!

It’s not easy being green,
-Eric

P.S. – Turner’s has a Tea-Bird, do you guys have the Galliker’s Gremlin or something cool like that?

And, here’s the link to Yahoo! Answers: How does blue + brown = green?

Some people sure are wound tightly.  I did get an honest genuine answer though, thanks to a Salt and Peppy.  Of course, Dave was also there to encourage.

Also… if you search “Galliker’s Blue Raspberry” in Googlemy question is the first thing to pop up.  That’s before the Galliker’s web page.

Google Search: Galliker's Blue Raspberry

Google Search: Galliker's Blue Raspberry

I win.

Excuse me, I’m eating.


Over my lifetime, I’ve amassed a list of words and subjects that I’d rather not discuss while eating.  This includes dining out, eating dinner at home with my wife, with a large group, or even just snacking.

This especially applies to family gatherings.  For some reason, dinner conversation always comes around to operations, infections, and/or feces when I’m with my family, and oddly… this extends to my wife’s family too.

There are just some things I don’t want to think about or even hear mentioned while I’m shoveling food into my face.  I’m I alone in this?  Please tell me I’m not alone.  I can’t watch Dirty Jobs while I’m eating either.

Here’s a short list of words and subjects that I don’t want to hear while I’m eating…

  • Infection / Infected
  • Puss
  • Anything ending in “ectomy
  • Bloated
  • Operation
  • Poop, diarrhea, feces, shit, crap, etc.
  • Diaper (…especially when it leads to a discussion of use and/or contents.)
  • Vomit, “Throw up”, puke, regurgitate, etc.
  • Bile
  • “Soupy” describing anything other than soup.
  • Anything describing a recent doctor’s visit.
  • Anything describing a recent dentist visit.
  • Maggot
  • Blood
  • The word “Hospital”, because it never leads to anything good.

I’m sure there are more, but these are the most offensive.  What would you add to the list?