Awesome Trash for the Wardrobe Stash

I’d like to see Jennifer Aniston and her “Smartwater” go green on the red carpet in this. That way, she could look trashy in a positive way (and smarter, too!) In this age of new austerity, what fashionista wouldn’t kill for this fabulous trash-art necklace, crafted from PET bottles and fishing line by Turkish architect Gulnur Ozdaglar. (See more of her beautiful work here or at

From an article on,

With the help of an open flame, scissors, a knife and a soldering iron, she transforms soda bottles into brooches, necklaces, vases and even plastic “petal” chandeliers, which sell for $250. Her pieces were recently featured in a well-known Turkish design store, and she is now working to win the sponsorship of environmental organizations in her country.

“Recycling is not one of the bigger issues in Turkey, as we are dealing with unemployment, human rights and more, but I think it is everyone’s responsibility to live without harming the earth,” says Ozdaglar. “I, all of my friends, and all of my neighbors, did not put one single bottle to waste last year. I make something out of all of them.”

h2o mp3: Crazy Water – Was (Not Was)

This very catchy, funky bluesy track isn’t about plain water, but “crazy water” and the economic boom and bust it created during and after Prohibition in a small Texas town. In 2008 the cult-favorite band Was (Not Was) released its first album in 16 years, called “Boo!” (For more on their story including how they came up with that band name, read this article on or this first-person account from the Seattle Times.)

In a deserted town at the corner of Main and Third
there’s nothing moving, not a butterfly nor bird
used to be some action here,
big motel and movie stars
but its been like judgement day,
trains and planes and fancy cars
The Senator’s Son and the President’s Daughter,
all came to town for that Crazy Water.

It was the pride of northern Texas,
an oasis cool and clean
now its just a dusty truck stop,
an evaporated dream.
The Senator’s Son and the President’s Daughter,
all came to town for that Crazy Water.

Play the track


Download Crazy Water – Was (Not Was)
Low-fi 64 kbps mp3 file for sampling.
Like it? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at Amazon or iTunes.

Bonus enhanced experience: watch the music video!

Can you Spare a Square for Art?

If only I had the time to sit down, think and reflect, share my thoughts with others…wait, perhaps I “doo!”

Artinloo is a collaborative photo project where people express what’s on their minds while alone in the loo. Why the restroom? As the site explains,

Because it is one of the few places in the world where people are almost unproductive and really alone with themselves!

If you’re unwilling to stand for the sake of art, here are the guidelines for making a submission:

1. Once alone in the loo, express on a piece of toilet paper what you are thinking about at that moment. 2. Be as original/sensible/artistic/humoristic as possible when you personalize your piece of toilet paper. The goal is to break the taboo surrounding this room and to evoke emotion and create discussion. 3. Once finished, take a photo of your creation and email it at

Some inspiration to get you started:

The Visual Water Dictionary: Oasis

In our ongoing mission to educate and inform the general public on nuances in the world of water language, a new feature: the visual water dictionary, which will attempt to cut confusion on selected water words with easy visual references.

Today’s word: Oasis

1. a fertile tract in a desert where the water table approaches the surface.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: A
This oasis looks like this:

Huacachina (Peru)

Huacachina (Peru)

2. A British rock band that occupies a big chunk of space on my iPod. No relevance to water.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: A-
This Oasis looks like this:

UK band Oasis

UK band Oasis

3. A Middle Eastern bottled water brand featuring a cute palm tree “i” in its logo.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: C- (Points gained for tap water scarcity in arid desert locations.)
This Oasis looks like this:

Oasis brand bottled water

Photos: huacachina from, oasis bottled water from johnallan199on Flickr.

Watch Your Time Drain Away

Where did the time go! It’s draining away, just like many of our fresh water sources and now you can visualize that maddening time leak with this online clock. Watch the seconds, minutes and hours drain away as you think about what you should be doing or meant to get done. Stressful, depressing and entertaining, all at the same time!

Spotted on The Presurfer, via Grow-A-Brain

Diners Declare Tap Water Charges Tough to Swallow

You’ve got to fight (bomp bomp) for your right (bomp bomp) to hyyyy-drate. With continued talk about emerging “water wars” we remember that the greatest battles start with a single shot. One blogger’s “shot” is brewing into a brouhaha that’s spreading across Singapore, and the opposition isn’t exactly waving the white flag.

“Doomsday” Jim, our sharp-eyed Southeast Asia trendspotter, tips us to this item from the

SINGAPORE, July 12 — A blogger in Singapore, upset that a restaurant would not serve her tap water which she needed to take her medication with, is urging diners to boycott such outlets.

Veron Ang — urged on by some netizens — went further and posted on her blog a list of 62 restaurants that she claimed do not serve free water. It provoked angry reactions from several of the eateries which said they do serve water without charge.

Ang said that in May, she dined at a restaurant in the west that refused to serve her water although she needed it for her medication. After she “Twittered” the incident, her friends urged her to create a list of similar eating places. She compiled an initial list from her own experience, as well as going to reviews on a food website, and asking friends on Facebook and Twitter.

After her list was posted on blog aggregating site, other contributions started flowing in. Her initial list, first posted last month, grew to 62 restaurants. It has been circulated by many Twitter users and websites.

As the list (posted here) of no-free-tappers grows in submissions, traffic and media attention, proprietors are responding–some angry, some dismissive, but all unappreciative of the exposure.

The marketing and sales manager for The Tapas Tree Group, Lyn Yip, said: “We find this list to be libellous, and will not hesitate to engage our lawyer if we are not removed from the list and the situation is not rectified immediately.

“We live in a time when the influence of web opinion cannot be ignored, so bloggers have to approach their entries with responsibility, especially when composing defamatory lists.

The managing director of Italian restaurant La Forketta, Gracie Vitale, said: “Our patrons are serious diners and come for our food, not to taste water. It’s the customer with a budget who insists on tap water.” She added that, outside Singapore, “nobody really asks for tap water”.

Jeffrey Jumahat, manager of Cafe Le Caire which does not serve free water, also shrugged off the list’s boycott exhortation. “To be frank, I don’t think customers will just boycott because of water. There’s no urgent need to take action at this point of time,” he said.

Jack Chin, co-founder of Mad Jack’s, said his chain of four restaurants does not serve free water because manpower is needed to refill and wash the glasses. He added: “People who complain are not educated about business costs because nothing is free.”

Bakerzin, which started serving free water in April last year, said it incurred costs of S$25,000 (RM60,000) to install special water filters at its 10 sit-down dining outlets

Taking the list seriously is Alps Cafe owner Danny Ang, who is rethinking his policy of “free water only if you ask for it”. His cafe had stopped serving water at dinner only late last year, but he does serve free tap water to customers who want it. He said: “I’m worried about the list. If customers really want it, I might consider raising the price of the food to give everyone free water.”

Several patrons contacted dismissed the reasons cited for not giving free tap water.

Sales manager Renee Koh, 32, said: “Serving plain water for free should really be part of the service experience and I find it hard to think that the costs are that high, given that the water served is just chilled tap water.”

Aun Koh, director of media and lifestyle consultancy Ate Media which published Asia’s first restaurant guide The Miele Guide, said: “In Singapore, there is no excuse other than snobbish vanity to drink bottled water and no reason other than an attempt to increase revenues for restaurateurs to refuse to offer tap water to their patrons.” — Straits Times

Under the Hood of my Ugly ’80s Toilet

Hey, they don’t make ’em like this anymore! Thank heavens! This is my hideous 1980s-vintage gold toilet. For a variety of reasons, I’m not in a position to get rid of the 3.5-gallon flusher just now. I have, however, modded it “under the hood” to use less water. (I don’t know the total amount of water these add-ons save; does anyone know how I would determine this?)

Anyway…first, I’ve replaced the constantly-kinking flush chain with a piece of rubbery cord that I pulled off of a retail pants hangers. Try this freebie hack if, like me, you get leaking water due to the flapper not seating firmly when the chain tangles. (Look for a hanger like this one.)

Next: see that blue thing attached to the fill tube? This is a clever little device that saves water by equalizing the bowl/tank fill rate. Most toilet bowls are finished filling long before the tank is full. While the fill valve continues filling the tank, it also continues overfilling the bowl, and the excess bowl water goes over the siphon trap and down the drain, wasted. With this adjustable gizmo the tank and bowl both finish filling at exactly the same time. (I got mine from eBay, but here’s a similar one.)

Next…Julie O’Fee, a friend from the UK, sent me a Thames Water giveaway Save-a-Flush which saves up to one litre per flush, according to their website. It’s a bag of crystals made from a harmless silicone gel. Once you place it into your “cistern” within hours it swells up firmly against the sides of the tank.

With a little more room in the tank, I added the 20 oz. glass; it just sits there in the tank and when it’s flushed the water stays in the glass and the whole deal displaces that additional amount of water.

So this will suffice as I continue to dream of my future Euro-styled dual flush. Now if only I could do something about the color…

A Moving Tribute from Brazil

Here’s an advert from March 2009 spotlighting World Water Day that likely to make you feel seasick! From Tribuna de Minas, a newspaper in Juiz de Fora, Brazil by ad agency Trópico Propaganda. (Click to view it full size for maximum headaches or tipsiness!)

Novelty aside, there’s actually something to be learned from these types of visual illusions. This article from the May 2008 Scientific American, The Neuroscience of Illusion, discusses the scientific value of visual illusions and shows how tricking the eye can reveal the inner workings of the brain.

h2o mp3: Under the Underground Water – Telefauna

This Montreal band is presently on hiatus and too bad, because I wish we could enjoy an ongoing steady stream of their quirky, funky, melodic art-pop. In their absense they’ve generously left this and other great tracks on their website as free downloads. (Link below). Thanks Telefauna! Under the Underground Water is from 2007 and reminds us that like water deep beneath the desert, the vital substance of life and people that we thirst for is also found far beneath the surface.

Tell me what you want, you want drinking water
Tell me what you need, you need telefauna
tell me what you want you want drinking water
Very deep below the surface of the Sahara
Deep below the surface of telefauna

Under the water, under the water,
under the water near the underground water
Under the water, under the water,
under the water near the underground water

It’s not the surface but what’s below, that you, that you wanna know,
you gotta know uh oh
It’s not the surface it’s what’s below, it what’s below,
it’s underneath the snow, uh oh

Play the track


Free MP3 Downloads at, including Under the Underground Water

Judge Us By Results, Not Method

There, I Fixed is a blog that features a range of repairs accomplished with on-the-fly amateur engineering. It’s amazing what can be achieved with duct tape, cable ties, wire and other found objects without a single trip to hardware store!  (Noted: the biggest word in the site’s tag cloud appears to be “unsafe!”)

We particularly love this ugly but effective solution for hot water delivery:

Upon further investigation, we learn via neatorama that this DIY water heater was made by Patryk Sielski from Warsaw, Poland. Patryk wrote:

I live in an academic hostel of Warsaw University of Technology. Unfortunately, we don’t have hot water in our rooms, it’s only in kitchen and toilet outside. This inconvenience caused me to think about hot water. Commercial heaters are to expensive to students, it’s also a problem to assemble without temporary cutting off the water. Beside of that, the fuses would be immediately blown.

The cheapest device that have an electric heater is a cordless kettle. Some glue, a bottle and a pipe… voila! The hot water flows.

Also, here’s a guerrilla plumbing solution that will stop that leak without a single cent spent at Home Depot:

And using the very versatile vice-grip pliers, this faucet is back in service in seconds:

Confession: my house is filled with on-the-fly fixes, and here’s one of them: this old outdoor faucet has an annoying drip-drip-drip when the water’s on, soaking directly into the foundation. I took care of it quick with this orange-juice-carton splash guard. This was much easier than disassembling the faucet and attempting to ID and replace the worn part/s. But I’m going to do that very soon. Really.