Eco… eco…… eco…………

Eco… eco…… eco…………

Okay, so the log of the American trip fell through, but that was largely because I failed to stay regular, and then just lost momentum. Henceforth, I shall aim to make one deposit here a week. Largely because I’m putting in a serious effort to get rid of these Knight’s Atari t-shirts, and I want there to be something relatively recent on the site. Would you like a tshirt? Write us an article or do us a doodle or something.

Anyway, this weekend just gone, I stayed in a small ecovillage in Tipperary. It takes four trains to get there from Galway, where I live, so it’s not somewhere you’d just pop by. My reason for being there was that Knight’s Atari’s very own Jorge, of “Cooking with Jorge” infamy, was getting married to a lovely lass, from whom Jorge is probably keen to hide Knight’s Atari’s existence. The wedding was lovely, went with only one major hitch, etc. More importantly, there was a compost toilet in the ecovillage. I didn’t use it, because I had a perfectly satisfactory loo in my room, which had this amusing poster on the door:

However, I thought that you, dear reader, might be interested in the composting toilet. It was located far away from any dwelling, probably with good reason. There were a stack of black bags behind the shed – presumably full of “compost”, but I did not venture close enough to confirm that. The idea behind composting toilets is, for those of you with little imagination, to indirectly recycle your poop into food. Humus, specifically. So if you think that stuff people dip their carrots in tastes like crap, you could be right. Composting toilets generally use very little water, which is important in places where water is scarce, like Ireland. An average toilet flush uses about six litres of water, and involves passing along an intricate system of sewers and pipes like Super Mario, before finally being flung out into the sea. So there is certainly some logic to instead storing your poop in a bag and using it to fertilize your lawn.
                                                                                                  
This particular composting toilet was of the sawdust variety – where you add sawdust to your deposit to help aerate the store, increase the carbon to nitrogen ratio, and reduce potential odor. There was, indeed, no smell in the loo, though I suspect this was more through a lack of use than anything else. I would imagine the novelty of a composting toilet wears off fairly rapidly, and then you end up using it just to make a point. And personally, whenever I try to bring a political agenda into my defecation, I find it detracts from the relaxation of mind and sphincter that should generally be associated with pooping. Some people seem to persevere though.

                                                                                       
So the floor is dusty and covered in sawdust, but the facility seems relatively hygienic apart from the lack of soap and a sink, and apparently an occasional lack of toilet paper. They have also helpfully nailed the toilet seat shut, because we’ve all had those days, when you’re genuinely concerned about whatever you’ve just dropped down the toilet trying to crawl back out.
                                                                                                
Just as I was exiting the facility, I decided to take a peek behind the door, and what did I see?

Another toilet!
Sitting directly facing the other one. While there is a small chance that they only have one toilet available for use at a time, to allow the compost room to breathe, or that the two toilets can perhaps be used simultaneously as urinals, it is far more entertaining to imagine two dedicated ecovillagers sitting there, staring into each other’s eyes as they did their bit for the environment. That requires true devotion. I have given it some thought, and I cannot think of one person with whom I would wish to be in that situation – not even ScarJo* or Stevie Wonder**. Who would you sit and shit with?

Someone I mentioned it to speculated that the second toilet was for use in emergencies, but I can’t imagine being ensconced on the throne and hearing someone yell “I’M COMING IN – I’VE GOT AN EMERGENCY!!”, or the succeeding events, would endear me to anyone.

I have not rated a toilet in a while, but…

Lighting: Natural light only.
Ergonomics: Poor
Aesthetics: Excellent
Capacity: 1 or 2.
Privacy: That depends.
Cleanliness: 36
Phone signal: Okay, considering it was Tipperary.
Post-use feeling of righteous superiority: Excellent.

In conclusion, would not recommend except as a potential date with that really hot smelly vegan chick from your yoga class.

*Scarlett Johansson – 21st century actress of unspeakable beauty. Famed for such roles as Natasha Romanoff in the Avengers series of movies, Molly Pruit in the third and worst of the seventy-six “Home Alone” movies,  and most notably, kicking off the career of co-star Bill Murray, with the opening shot of her arse in the otherwise unremarkable “Lost in Translation”.

**21st century musician – famous for his odourless flatulence.
Nice shoes…

Nice shoes…

Another door, but I visited no facilities today to which I will not return, so you’ve missed nothing. This brief remark is on the obscenely large gaps under cubicle doors in America. The gaps between the door and the frame are also extra-large, which is good news for all of our readers, who are perverts. I feel that comma is appropriate.
Our Berkeley accommodation last year, had, for some reason, a cubicle which you could see right into if you stood at the urinal beside it. I’ll try to locate a photo.
I should possibly have included something here for scale, but you’ll have to trust me – this is a really big gap. I always thought they were ridiculous, until that time last year when I could not unlock the cubicle I was in. Had brute force not eventually worked, I would have had to call for help or crawl…

On Hooks

On Hooks

Not all my photos will be of doors – but these highlight an important issue which many people seemingly forget when kitting out their toilet cubicles. The first picture is a loo door in Dublin Airport, the second in Heathrow, and the third in San Francisco. The third picture is less satisfactory than what I was trying to photograph, so I will focus on the first two pictures. Can you spot the difference?
I’ll give you a minute.

Well done!
Yes, there are at least two bags on the hook in the right picture, while in the other, those same bags are presumably balanced on my head, because that hook isn’t going to hold anything with any degree of reliability, and especially in an airport, your bags must go absolutely everywhere with you and there’s piss on the floor.
Some loos provide no hook at all, and are unworthy of review.

Home Is Where The Fart Is

Home Is Where The Fart Is

This is it.
On the other side of that door lie seventeen days of latrinal uncertainty.
Here I am, in the comfort of my own bathroom, the lock on the door purely symbolic, preparing myself for a voyage and a lack of reliable bathroom breaks.
For your pleasure and disgust and erudition, I will once more turn my hand to chronicling some of the pit stops during my travels. It has been a while, but perhaps it is like learning to ride an elephant. I regret not keeping a better log of last year’s sojourn across the ocean; the bears, the breasts, the fire, the blockages, the great escape…
Perhaps, if I risk falling short of my 150-word quota, I will share these anecdotes with you.

For now, I sit here and ponder the same question every traveller must before embarking on a long journey – when did I last poop?

– Your Man on the Can

The redheads and the chess pieces.

The redheads and the chess pieces.

Author’s note: This is an old puzzle. I am only resurrecting it because the amazing Hannah Fry has tweeted a request for a chess-player, and I am not going to see my maths phd and decades of chess-playing go to waste simply because of a 140-character word limit and my inability to be epigrammatic. If it turns out to be an April Fools’, I shall be most disappointed.

Author’s side-note: Apologies to you dear readers, and to Kevin and Isabella, for my prolonged absence, which I may well resume presently.

Three young redheads*, cavorting naked in the moonlight one evening, were captured by a group of perverted chess-playing homicidal maniacs. The redheads watched in horror as the leader of the perverted chess-playing homicidal maniacs selected two knights and three pawns from his set. He ordered the other perverted chess-playing homicidal maniacs to tie the captives’ hands behind their respective backs. He then set the redheads standing in an equilateral triangle with edges of almost arbitrary length 10 metres, to prevent whispering or wiggling and gesticulative hints between the captives. He explained, as he placed one of the five chess pieces standing on each of the captives’ heads, that if any of them dropped their chess piece then they would all be killed. Further, they would each be asked what chess piece was on their heads – a simple multiple-choice question, in effect, where one correct answer would lead to instant freedom for all three. One of the redheads asked if there was to be negative marking, which reminded the leader of the perverted chess-playing homicidal maniacs that yes, in fact, an incorrect answer would lead to the redheads all being summarily executed whereupon their skins would be converted into lampshades for the table lamps which the perverted chess-playing homicidal maniacs had recently won at a table quiz**, which had ironically turned out to be about tables and left the participants feeling a little bitter – hence the capturing and threats of death and so on, which they would not under normal circumstances condone.

And so, without further ado, the first redhead was asked what chess piece was on her head. She looked at the chess pieces on the heads of her friends*** and hadn’t a fucking clue, and burst into tears because she was an emotional sort. It was a wonder that she managed to keep the chess piece balanced on her head at all. The second redhead was then asked what chess piece was on her head****. She asked what would happen if none of them answered, and after a moment’s contemplation the leader of the perverted chess-playing homicidal maniacs conceded that he hadn’t considered that eventuality, but that she could rest assured that he would conceive an equally heinous yet tedious fate for them all. So after briefly attempting to twist her head at some odd angle and rolling her eyes up into her skull in an effort to see through it to the chess piece, the second redhead conceded that she did not know what chess piece was on her head either. The final redhead had lost her glasses, which was just typical of her, and she was unfortunately yet intriguingly effectively blind without them. So while she had seen the pieces when they were selected, she could now barely distinguish the other girls’ blurry arses from their blurry elbows, nevermind which sodding chess piece was balanced on their blurry heads. In any event – she didn’t actually know what the chess-pieces were called, having never made her way to the chess club meetings whilst she was at university. Scarlet for her mother for having her, eh? But after a moment’s thought she was able to work out what the piece on her head ought to look like. She described the piece to the leader of the perverted chess-playing homicidal maniacs, who, being an honourable sort, let the other two girls go, but was so infuriated at the final redhead‘s ignorance that he clubbed her slowly to death with a copy of a small publication about mathematics, chess, and toilets.

The moral of the story is, obviously, go to chess club – Wednesdays from 8 in Smokey’s*****.
The question is: what piece was on the final redhead‘s head, and how did she know?

* These ladies’ hair colour has remained unchanged for the past four years – we do not pander.

**For the benefit of our international readers, a table quiz is what the Irish call a pub quiz. Why, I do not know. But yes, in answer to your inevitable question, we did actually host a pub quiz where all 107 of the questions were about tables. It was unforgettable.

***In truth, they were not actually friends at all, and had never even met before being thrust together as part of this sick, perverted fantasy.. eh.. puzzle..
Life’s funny, eh?

****The problem may call for some suspension of disbelief. Primarily, it must be assumed that the redheads in question are intelligent. Pretend they’re expert logicians or something like that.

*****For the benefit of our international readers: Smokey’s Cafe, National University of Ireland, Galway, Galway, Ireland.