The Absurdity of Umbrellas

A 2008 finalist in Vimeo’s Intelligent Use of Water Contest, Rainwater Harvesting is a beautiful clip from India’s Centre for Science and Environment that suddenly makes umbrellas seem ridiculous (at least in the manner we currently use them.)

Browse some of the other videos in the collection–a fine activity for your next slow, introspective rainy day.

Rainwater Harvesting from Intelligent Use of Water Contest on Vimeo.

Go in Style: 2009 Finalists for Best Public Restroom

Go the the polls…or maybe go AT the polls…and make your vote count for the 2009 edition of America’s Best (Public) Restroom. (Voting ends July 31, 2009.) You can vote here; the main website is here; and check out the fascinating “ABR Hall of Fame“, featuring Top Flush standouts since 2002.

We, of course, must accept that this is a sponsored affair, by Cintas Corp., a company that, surprise! …makes restroom supplies. (Unintentionally-funny line in the site’s header: “…as voted on by the Internet Public.” Because of course, that’s totally different from the normal, general public!

The field has been narrowed to ten finalists for the creme de la creme of public facilities. On this exclusive Thirsty in Suburbia LooLocator® map, we can see a good regional distribution of the finalist facilities, although if you’re cruising the interstate through Colorado or South Carolina, you’re going to be holding it for awhile.

Following, the finalists, flush with pride, no doubt!

My vote? Fortunately, you don’t have to choose just one, you get to “rank” each on scale of 1 to 10. I have a great love for grand old hotels and theaters, but a “touchless environment” sounds appealing, too!

Shoji Tabuchi Theater in Branson, MO: marble fireplaces, hand-carved mahogany pool table, antiques, lion’s head sinks, leather chairs, stained glass and chandeliers.

 Radio City Music Hall in New York NY: Designed in the early 1930’s, restroom and lounges feature classic tile work, art deco furnishings and unique materials, including cork- covered walls.

 Zeffirino Ristorante – Venetian Resort, Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada:Custom-made mosaic tile artwork, Carra marble floors, Venetian plaster, Murano Glass chandeliers and washbasins, limestone water fountain and private restroom suites.

 Canlis Restaurant, Seattle, Washington: Zen-like atmosphere, handmade organic wall coverings, designer fixtures, Japanese art, large picture windows overlooking garden.

 The Tremont Plaza Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland: Extensive use of imported marble, grand columns, chandeliers, hand-carved woodwork.

 The Tampa Theater, Tampa, Florida:Designed in the 1920s, vitrolite glass on walls, intricate tile designs, pipe-shaped sconces.

 Macy’s Union Square, 6th Floor, San Francisco, California: Art Deco design, Italian marble, chandelier with carved ceiling medallion, full-length stainless steel stall doors.

 The Drake Hotel: Palm Court, Chicago, Illinois: Palm tree murals, private suites, in-stall makeup tables, elegant sconces, an array of chandeliers

 NOVA 535, St. Petersburg, Florida:Full-length solid birch stall doors, Italian mocha travertine with black granite diamond inserts, completely touch-less environment.

 The Fox Theater, Detroit, Michigan: Designed in 1928, custom-made furniture and tile, hard-carved moldings, chandeliers.

Slick! 8-bit Waterslide in Real Life

There’s so many things to love about this quirky animation that I won’t even attempt to list them, just enjoy! This made me laugh out loud and is many levels better than the ad. (Ad? What ad? See notes below…)

This crazy creation was the winner of a video contest from Barclaycard to promote their new waterslide-themed ad (!). If you haven’t seen the ad (and in America, you haven’t) here it is on YouTube). It features a business-guy who strips down to his skivvies to commute home via waterslide, easily spending money all along the way with his “slideless” card.

As the contest winner, tea&cheese gets to choose between a global watersliding tour to five of the world’s wildest waterslides or £10,000 cold cash.

Creative Thinkers Hit the Bottle, in partnershp with Tap’dNY, is running a “Keep the Bottle” Contest calling for great ideas to recycle and reuse plastic bottles. Tap’d is an organization that has been very active in promoting tap water as the preferred, smart choice as well as aggressive recycling of bottled water empties. Have a look at the entries, some are practical, some are crazy, but nearly all are pretty inventive.

At 26,000+, the “Most Viewed” entry right now is a Water Bottle Bazooka … quite impressive and as Mom would say, destined to cause someone to “put their eye out.”

Now of course, I couldn’t resist this. Although I’ve been a reader of Instructables for 5 years, I’ve never posted one of my own until now. And here it is, the “Plastic Bottle Self Extinguishing Ashtray!”

Plastic Bottle Self Extinguishing AshtrayMore DIY How To Projects

Naturally I have zero chance at a prize, given the simple concept and the political and social incorrectness of smoking. Still, I was fun to do! (Go ahead and vote for me anyway, OK?)