Sunday, September 21, 2008

A hidden five o'clock shadow

click image to enlarge

From The Georgia Straight's Best of Vancouver 2008 issue, out Thursday September 18, 2008. Click here for the above, and click here for the Best of overview page.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Look ma, no hands

Wendy's on Cambie Street just north of Broadway was closed for a spell. The Canada Line construction had turned that intersection into chaos and getting to their off-8th parking lot was a very difficult task. Consequently, business had slowed. I don't know this firsthand, but had been to neighboring Mongolie Grill and they reported a business slowdown. So sure, why not turn that negative into a positive and close for renos? They recently reopened, and on my first visit post-renos I had reason to use the restroom. I then had reason to be disappointed. Many public restrooms - in malls, in restaurants, in my pants - have been converting their restrooms to a hands-free experience, meaning that after doing your bizness, you are able to wash your hands, dry your hands, and exit the restroom without having to physically touch anything.

In the Wendy's restroom, I had to..
  • use my hands to flush
  • use my hands to turn on the faucet
  • use my hands to get soap
  • use my hands to turn off the faucet
  • use my hands to open the door
As a result, my hands were probably dirtier after washing my hands and exiting the room than immediately prior to washing my hands. It's simple simple simple to make a restroom hands-free. You've likely been to several in your life.

Whether using a urinal or a toilet, there are sensors on the back which detect when someone is in front and gets engaged. Upon person leaving, flussssssh. Then, the faucets are motion sensor; glide your hand under the tap, and presto, you've got water. Soap I think has to be hand-operated, but that's okay because at get-soap time your hands are still pre-clean. The faucet turns off after a set time, or when it no longer senses motion. Not only does this mean not having to use your hands to turn off the water by touching a dirty handle, it also avoids pranksters from clogging the sink, leaving the water running, and exiting, thereby creating a flooded restroom. The last requirement is being able to exit without having to touch a door handle. At metrotown, the entrances to the restrooms are sort of like S-shaped paths with no doors at all, preventing the other sex from peering in with their curious eyes.

Wendy's had ample time to make their restrooms hands-free while renovating their dining-room area (which remains remarkably unchanged), but failed to do so. As well, their exterior doors still have the handles on the wrong side, despite repeated comments for change made over ten years ago.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Probable name: Delicious

Oversight. That's all I'll say about the delay. Biscotti is pregnant. She's at nineteen weeks and baby-to-be is currently the size of "a six-inch turkey sub". For those of you keeping score at home, that's turkey sub - not meatball, not cold cut trio, not lobster. Turkey. Due date is late-January/early-February.