Tag Archives: hygiene

My Non-Concern For The Coming Robot Apocalypse

I’ve heard the warnings.  I’ve read about the myths.  They say a vampire can’t enter your house unless invited, and one would surmise the same would apply to robots.  But I have added a new automatron to my brood, without consulting its natural-born enemies, the cats.  It’s a new Roomba, my future Terminator.

Since I’ve recently replaced all the carpet in my house with laminate, I now have all hard-surface floors, which is a virtual playground for a Roomba.  I’ve considered buying a roboto vacuumo a few times in the past, but, damn, they were expensive.  Now, it seems you can get the older tech pretty cheaply, so I was able to justify the purchase based on the lack of interest I had in cleaning my floors and the amount of stuff that was on the floors.

With two cats, the biggest things I have to deal with are: cat hair, cat litter and the dust that comes with it, and shredded cardboard from their scratchers.  I suppose I shed a lot of hair, too.  But, without kids or dogs, I don’t really have to deal with wet things: puke, slobber, drinks.  So a Roomba to pick up all the dry items blowing around like tumbleweeds is perfect for me.

But, back to the idea of extinction.  I’m certainly not afraid of robots killing us off.  Even watching Boston Dynamics nightmare videos doesn’t do it.  I have no fear because really, robots actually suck pretty bad.  I mean, they work, but they’re in no way autonomous.  It’s also why I will never own a self-driving car in my lifetime.  Autopilot?  Mmmm hmmm.  Sure.

My first experience with the Roomba was when I set up the charging base and set the vac down on it.  It lit up and started charging.  I went off to read the manual and I heard something talking.  The robot was talking to me.  I have no idea what it said, but when I came back, it was blinking a couple of lights at me.  They looked like alert and battery lights.  I assumed it was because the battery was run-out dead and needed to get an initial charge, but an hour later, they were still blinking.  I pushed some buttons and it spoke to me again.  “Charging error 1!”  Ok.  Research says this could mean a failed battery or a poorly-seated battery.  I took the vac apart – and to iRobot’s credit, this is extremely easy – and pulled the battery and reseated it.  The Roomba was now charging.

My next experience was when it was on its maiden voyage around the house.  I was satisfied with how it was behaving and the cats were generally spooked by the same.  I went out to dinner and in line for my food, I get a message on my phone. “Clean roller brush!”  Yeah, this vacuum can complain to me remotely.  How wonderful.  Since I’m away from the house, I am unable to serve my robot’s demands and have to wait until I get home.  I find that the little death machine has sucked up a washcloth and became inoperable.  I’m so worried for my life.

The last experience of the night was when I was winding down for bed and the Roomba was wandering around under the watchful eye of the little cat.  I heard it bumping into things over and over and over.  I looked across the house to see it had gone into the bathroom and shut the door, trapping itself in the room.  I’m sure the floor is pretty clean in there now, but again, I’m not worried that robots are going to figure out every potential way a door can be blocked in order to get through.

And that’s my first night with my new Roomba, the T-671.

The Search Continues

Today, I treated myself to a nice, long, hot shower.  I know at least one person who would say, “fuck yeah!” and at least one person who would say, “fuck you!” to that extended activity.  Showers aren’t really a big thing to me.  I’m typically always a solo showerer (“Boooo!” from at least one person) and usually, I just want to get it done and get my day started.

Because of my view that a shower is utility and not luxury, you would think my showering hardware would reflect that.  You’d be right but oddly, I find myself in a perpetual search for the perfect showerhead.  I initially wrote shower head and quickly determined that is something totally different.  (“Boooo!” from at least one person)

I don’t recall the showerhead that came with the house when I bought it, and can’t remember when I first swapped it out, but I do remember at that time I had a real bug up my ass about saving as much water as possible.  I don’t really know why, since the water bill is really low and my appliances are all water-efficient.  But anyway, I bought this ultra-efficient head with a shutoff switch built into it.

41umwed8qpl1I think I might have experienced this spray nozzle once before in a hotel and I was impressed with the power of the spray while it still used very little water.  So I sought one out for myself.  When I got it installed, I learned a few things.  One is that novelty wears off.  If I had stayed a full week at that hotel instead of a night, I would have learned that the sensation of the spray isn’t all that wonderful, day after day.  The other thing I learned is that when I used the shutoff switch, the water immediately starts cooling, so when the switch gets turned back on, you get a blast of cold water.  Nope, this is not the last showerhead I will own.

89cb9d4f-8aaa-4f18-9118-8cc0719899c91In 2012 (according to sales records), I purchased a Dream Spa showerhead.  This head had a major advantage in that it had a hose on it.  I don’t know why manufacturers always try to suggest that you will grab the showerhead and spray all over your body with it.  I just turn around in the shower.  It’s not that difficult, people.  However, the hose allowed me to clean the the shower much easier than a stationary head would.  Being a typical guy, it was not out of the realm of possibility to run a garden hose into the bathroom to spray the walls down.  I’m not saying I did that… often, but then again, I’m not saying I clean… often.

I used this head for a really long time.  And I did it in spite of the fact that the shower head designers were complete idiots.  What I am referring to is the nozzles.  Nothing like having a dozen or so faces staring aghast at your nudity.  Don’t see it?


Because the water sucks everywhere in this state and even in my house, I eventually had to replace this showerhead.  The limestone and other minerals clogged up, dried out, and cracked the rubber OMG faces, resulting in a suboptimal spray pattern.  So I bought another Dream Spa head, one that had even more spray patterns.  Honestly, they all sucked.  I’m just sticking with a simple outer ring spray pattern until I move on to my next head.

Unrelated to my head problems at my own home, a different problem was occurring back in my hometown motel, where I was last weekend.  You know how a lot of faucets have tilt-to-open, turn-for-temp designs?  You see them pretty much everywhere.

theng70uoq thzlt4ya0k th1zy50zgs th8r1ai46x

Well, I was pretty surprised that in the lobby of the motel when I was checking in, there was a large-type printout explaining the proper use of the shower faucet.  My assumption is they had one too many people snapping the handles off trying to tilt them to turn on the water.  In my own room, they had another educational piece, printed on a high-quality placard.


Contact the front desk if you don’t comprehend what we’re try to explain.  Don’t break our damn handles anymore.

(Poop) Time And Tide Wait For No Man

Inspired by AK’s post, I thought it would be interesting to provide a perspective from the stall on the other side of the wall.  It’s not all fun and games in our world either.  While we may be outnumbered by the females, there’s enough of us to cause problems for each other.  The problems are exacerbated by the infrastructure at hand.

So here’s the general problem.  We have two stalls, one of which is the handicapped suite.  You can tell by the visible shoes/feet that the “lowrider” stall is occupied, but there is no way to know if the suite is in use unless you test the door.  This is because the door is always closed regardless of being latched or not.  Now I consider myself a courteous gentleman.  If I must test the door, I stand at a distance and lightly test the handle with a single finger.  Today, I had two goddamn hulks trying to rip the door off the hinges to get to me.  And I am considerate when I’m inside the suite, too.  I bob my leg to jingle my belt buckle.  Sometimes I clear my throat.  Surely hearing something from inside would indicate occupancy?  No!  Hulk shit now!  RATTLE RATTLE.

As is my nature, the problem-solver, I set my brain to work on how this can be remedied.  There is no existing way to indicate occupancy, but there is an existing way to indicate vacancy.  I employ this method religiously for everyone else’s benefit.  The other knuckledraggers here are slow to adopt it, because I think they don’t understand.

The method I employ is to slide the locking latch shut as I leave.  The closed latch is stopped by the door frame when the door is closed, leaving the door slightly propped open.  You can visually see that the door is open and the stall is available.  It’s easy and costs nothing.  All it requires is adoption.  And so I began planning a campaign to promote this concept to my less-considerate cohorts.  I would post some PSA-type flyers in the stall to remind others to prop the door when they leave.  I needed some clever ideas, clever slogans.  On my first brainstorming, I came up with the following:

image1 image2 image3 image6 image7 image

With such a marketing campaign, how could I fail?  Well, you only fail if you try.  I did not go through with the propping campaign.  Instead, I started thinking of even more clever ideas.

What if there was a plexiglass “flag” that you could slide onto the latch mechanism from inside?  The flag would extend outside the stall.  That would indicate occupancy, which is more valuable than indicating vacancy.  Because, despite the compelling arguments posted within the stall, you still have to kind of assume that someone may not comply and you have to test the door anyway.  And if that’s the case, then door propping is not 100% reliable and might as well not even be attempted.  (You have to love black and white viewpoints.)

Another early consideration I had was putting a spring lever inside the latch, which would hold the door slightly ajar when unlatched but wouldn’t interfere with closing and latching the door.  I even did the research into what type of metal would be needed and how to form it into a spring lever that wouldn’t simply wear out.  A torch was required to heat treat the metal, so I reluctantly back-burnered that idea. (ha!)

Now, the obvious solution to this is to update the infrastructure.  It would be as simple as buying a latch that has an open/closed indicator on the outside.  You know, like on airplanes.  But even though we seem to get new toilet paper and paper towel dispensers on a bi-annual basis, we can’t upgrade the door latches.

Time will tell if any of these things actually happens.  Until then, I’ll be jingling in the suite.  Keep your ears open.

America the Weak

Here’s a rant.  This is a peeve of mine.  I was at Wendy’s and I went back up to the counter for a refill.  I took the lid off the cup and the counter girl asked what I was drinking.  Coke, obviously.  So she grabs a new cup and starts putting ice in it.  I’d seen this many times and it always angered me at the simple waste of a cup.

So I asked, can’t you just use this cup?  She said no, that I might have a cold and not know it, or I might have "done something" to the cup, and that it was a health risk for her to take it; they could get sued.  Ok.  I understand.  She gave me my new drink and I asked "can you throw this one away?"  Sure.  She took it from me and I said, "Now you’re touching my cup.  Why couldn’t you fill it?"  she quickly countered with "but I can wash my hands afterwards."  And you could have washed your hands after filling the dirty, filthy, customer cup, too.

But America doesn’t think like that.  A bunch of germophobic, sue-happy morons.  Here’s a clue: Germs don’t obey the law.  You and your immune system are either stronger than them or you will succumb to them.  You can’t pass laws and policies that will stop them.