Friday, September 3, 2010

Turn and Face the Strain (Ch-Ch-Changes)

Location: 5th Floor ECJ

Facilities: 1 Stall, 2 Urinals, 2 Sinks, Foam Soap, Paper Towels

I'm a civil engineering student, and as such I spend a lot of time pooping in ECJ. Once you get past the basement and first floor all the bathrooms on the upper levels are pretty much the same, cramped, poorly lit, oddly designed, utilitarian locations with not much to offer in the way of comfort. They do the trick but just barely. Such was the case with the fifth floor restroom until about halfway through last semester. All of a sudden a wall was erected around the door and the bathroom was shut down, for what reason I did not know. All I knew was that it had just become far more difficult to poop on the fifth floor. Little did I know what waited in store behind those thin wooden walls.

The prodigal bathroom has returned, and I welcome it! They totally redesigned the bathroom including all new, and quite beautiful, tile from the floor up. The new tile adds a level of warmth I have not seen in a bathroom in quite some time. They also eliminated one of the stalls, so what was once a cramped, uncomfortable space is now wide open. Of course this means there is only one stall for the whole bathroom, but the traffic on the floor is slow enough that it isn't a big problem.

However, it is not without fault. For one thing, and this is a general concern of mine with almost every public restroom, the toilet paper dispenser is too low. That combined with the low quality toilet paper, that can be found in practically everything bathroom around campus, makes it very difficult to pull off more than one sheet at a time. It was more than a little frustrating.

The other far more obvious problem is that this is not a bathroom that anyone in the rest of the school will find particularly useful. Even though ECJ does have the fastest elevators on campus, the trek to the fifth floor could be a little too far out of your way.

I'm giving this bathroom 4 flushes out of 5 for a near perfect overall design, but unless you spend a lot of time in ECJ then you're probably better off pooping elsewhere.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Where I Pooped on my Summer Vacation

As the first week of class here at UT comes to a close I figured I ought to start a new school year of Pottymouth reviews. But before I get started, here's a glimpse into what I did with my summer vacation, or rather where I did it.

I decided with no internship or real job to speak of lined up for the summer of 2010 that it would be a good idea to see the world and poop all over it. I wanted to use (and hopefully enjoy) some of the most famous bathrooms from around the globe.

I turned The White House into an out house when I snuck into the Presidential bathroom on a trip to Washington DC. I may not always agree with Obama's politics, but I love his taste in air fresheners.

I had a seat on the Royal Porcelain Throne on a visit to Buckingham Palace. While the layout was very classic, the lack of paper towels had me saying, "We are not amused!"

I took a trip to South Africa to poop in the same bathroom Nelson Mandela used while he was imprisoned. I used to think he was a brave man. After seeing the bathroom he had to use all those years I know he is.

Unfortunately my trip came to an early end when I attempted to enter North Korea to visit the restroom in Kim Jong Il's palace. I was thrown in prison and had to escape using only an old toothbrush and (oddly enough) the toilet in my room. When my MacGyver like device was complete I rode a pressurized wave of sewage across the boarder and into safety. I returned home and was so excited to see my bathroom that I went in and didn't leave for a whole day.

But now I'm back on the UT campus and happy to be doing what I love, finding the best (and worst) bathrooms on campus and alerting you, the waiting public, of my findings. Welcome back to Pottymouth. Let another grand adventure begin!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nobody Wants to Hear That

Location: Second Floor of Jester

Utilities: 2 Urinals, 1 Toilet, 2 Sinks, Paper Towels and foam soap dispensers

As many of you know, I have been on a long journey to find a suitable bathroom to use that's both close to Jester City Limits and hospitable to humans. Today, my search continued as I ventured all the way up to the second floor of Jester. I didn't really know where I was going because being an engineering student who lives on the North side of campus I've never really been on the second floor of Jester. I wasn't even sure there were any bathrooms up there, but soon enough I came across them on the West side of the building.

Upon entry you have to walk through this oddly long hallway. At first I was apprehensive (especially knowing how terrible the first floor bathroom was) and the suspense built as I traversed the long path. What I found was a delightful surprise though. It was a clean, little bathroom with an interesting beige color scheme. There was no pattern in the floor tiles, which was a little weird to look at but not terribly distracting, and the window was large and effectively brightened the whole room. It was all pretty clean, and the smell was minimal.

However, I hadn't really thought about this upon entry but as I began my business I noticed the door to the bathroom was open, not the stall door but the door to the bathroom itself. The entire time I was going I could hear everyone moving around outside in Jester and couldn't help but think about them being able to hear me as well. This was a sort of unnerving. Another issue I didn't come across until I was leaving is that there aren't any convenient stairwells if, like me, you exit Jester through the 21st street doors to get to the bus stop, making this bathroom a little further out of the way than I would like.

I'm going to give this one 4 flushes out of 5. Its a nice little bathroom if you don't mind the walk and a little white noise while your making your brown noise.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting Educated

Location: 5th floor Sanchez Building (Education Building)

Facilities: 2 Stalls (automatic), 3 Urinals (automatic), 3 Sinks, Soap, Paper Towels and Hand Dryer

Readers, I have found my Mecca, and it is a bathroom on the south side of campus. Unfortunately this means I have to face south everytime I poop, which can be difficult at times.

Working on a tip and my theory that the farther out of the way a bathroom is the nicer it will be, I hit the Sanchez building, just south of PCL, after a tasty JCL lunch. I'd used the bathroom on the first floor last year, and it hadn't really blown me away. However, I thought maybe if I went up a little further I'd have better luck. A few short escalator rides and I was there. In case you haven't caught on by this point, this bathroom is way out of the way even if you are in the area, so be forewarned.

There are two things that struck me as soon as I entered. First, it was huge. I mean it was twice as big as other bathrooms with the same number of facilities. You could lay out some cardboard and start breakdancing in there if you wanted. The other thing that strikes you is the smell, or rather lack thereof. I didn't think it was possible. I had only heard of it in legends, but there it was, an actual bathroom with no smell. At all. It didn't smell like poo or urine or sweat or even air freshener. It didn't smell like anything. It was beautiful. After that point I knew I was in love. All the toilets are automatic, and you are even given the option of using either paper towels or a hand dryer (If I have the time I always go with hand dryer, but if I don't its nice to have the option).

Seriously, if it weren't for the location this would be the perfect bathroom. As it is though, its just so out of the way as to be prohibitive. I give it my first ever four and a half flushes out of five. (The half flush is when you flush right after another flush and the tank hasn't filled up all the way yet so it isn't full strength)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If You Like Coleslaw...

Location: Third Floor of the Music Building East near the elevators

Facilities: 3 Urinals, 2 Stalls, 4 Sinks, Paper Towels and Foam Soap Dispensers

I know it's not usually my place to talk about the buildings that contain the bathrooms I review but I just have to say the Music Building is awesome. It's quiet between classes, there's plenty of comfortable places to sit, and the design is awesome.

I received a tip on this bathroom from my friend Kirsten who described it as "very private". I would agree but this is both a blessing and a curse. The biggest problem with this bathroom is how out of the way it is. In three years I've never had a real reason to be in this building or even on this side of campus on a week day. But maybe that's just me. Maybe there are some of you out there who come here all the time (feel free to talk about it in the comments). Oh, and it's all the way up on the third floor of the building, so get ready to do some walking.

The only other thing is the smell. It's like a very mayonaisse heavy coleslaw. It's not quite sickening and certainly not the usual bathroom smell, but it may be too much for some of my less hardy readers.

For it's excellent privacy and simple design it gets 4 flushes out of 5. Now if they could just transplant it to the middle of campus and get rid of that smell...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chemistry of a Different Kind

Location: Second Floor of Welch

Facilities: 3 Toilets, 3 Urinals, 2 Sinks, Paper Towels and Foam Soap Dispenser

This bathroom is a textbook case of overuse. If you can't find it then you've never been in Welch before. Its the only bathroom I've ever seen on the most highly trafficked floor of one of the most highly trafficked buildings on campus. It is immediately across the hall from a 400+ seat classroom as well as many other large classrooms. And the nearest bathroom requires you either go upstairs or all the way across to the other side of the building.

The first thing of note upon entry is that it smells pretty terrible. And that smell never goes away. I've been in there at all hours of the night and it still lingers. Its as if there is a barrier around the door and upon crossing through it you completely lose the ability to aim or flush. Its a good thing its in the chemistry building because they're going to need some powerful stuff to clean it. The other incredibly odd thing is the height of the urinals, none of which have barriers in between. Its like they were designed by the three bears. One is too tall, to the point of basically resting your genitals on it. One is too low. And the one that is "just right" is right in the middle. So in order to comfortably pee in this bathroom you have to be the jackass that takes the middle urinal, ostensibly rendering the other two unusable. As for the, just no.

For its crimes against humanity in the form of a sickening smell and terrible design I have to give this bathroom 1 flush out of 5. Use only in the case of an emergency. Otherwise, there are greener pastures elsewhere.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Through the Looking Ass

Location: First Floor ECJ

Facilities: 2 Toilets (1 handicap), 3 Urinals, 3 Sinks, Soap and Paper Towels

So I'll explain the title of this post soon, but first I want to talk about this bathroom's location. This isn't really one of those convenient bathrooms you use on your way to somewhere. This is one of those bathrooms you use because you have a class on the first floor of ECJ and there is not other bathroom on that floor. It is placed in the corner of the building essentially near the end of a dead end hall. This is a problem if, like me, you find yourself studying or doing homework near or in the engineering library because your only option is to walk all the way around the horseshoe that is the first floor to use the facilities. Its a little inconvenient. And if you've never been to this bathroom you may never go because there is no sign to alert you that its all the way down the hall.

On to the bathroom itself: The first thing you'll notice when you walk in is the dizzying chessboard tile pattern that coats the floor and half the walls. It always makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. Jesse, my stalwart companion, says it gives him vertigo every time he walks in. Once you get past that the setup is pretty standard except for the one urinal set away from the other urinals, presumably because it is unclean. Because it is so close to a large auditorium classroom it also gets a lot of traffic, which means it smells like a sweaty man.

If you're in a time crunch or its not a class day you can give this bathroom a try. Otherwise, take the time to head upstairs to any of the other bathrooms in the building. I give it 2 flushes out of 5.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Squats in the Gym

Location: Gregory Gym First Floor

Utilities: 2 sinks, 1 stall, 1 urinal, soap dispensers, paper towels (automatic)

Often times after eating a hearty meal at Jester City Limits, I'll need to use the facilities. Unfortunately the closest bathroom to JCL, first floor Jester by the Wendy's, is horrifyingly disgusting. So for a while I've been searching for a good alternative in the area. One day, my traveling companion Jesse recommended the bathroom in Gregory, not the locker room bathroom but another one closer to the entrance.

After having used this bathroom several times, my feelings are still very mixed about it. I love its proximity to JCL, and because I'm usually headed in that direction anyway, its never an out of the way trip. The location is easy to get to as it can be found almost immediately to your left upon entry (you don't even have to swipe in). But at the same time, its sort of tucked away from the public eye, so it isn't used as heavily. Its usually fairly clean, and the smell is fine.

Unfortunately, it is a tiny bathroom, and while it doesn't get much in the way of traffic, even just one other person can destroy what would otherwise be a pleasant pooping experience. At least half the time I try to use it there's someone else already there. For this single flaw I have to knock down what would otherwise be a perfect bathroom to three flushes out of five. I guess the search for a good Jester alternative continues.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Business School Assumptions Shattered

Location: McCombs School of Business (CBA) Second Floor

Utilities: 3 sinks, 4 urinals, 4 stalls, soap dispensers, paper towels

I'm going to be honest: As an engineering student I have a pretty set idea of what business students are like. They're all lazy, dirty frat boys and sorority girls. And when I took microeconomics last semester, it seemed to support this theory (well maybe not the lazy part). But after visiting a bathroom in the heart of the business school I may have to change my opinion.

I entered the building from the glass doors on the east side from Speedway. I located a map of the building and found a pair of unisex bathrooms I thought I'd try. Unfortunately both were in use. This next part was my own fault because instead of going back to the map I decided to wander around the building looking for another restroom. After too much time, and some directions from a friendly faculty member, I found one further down a hall to the left of where I had entered, and boy am I glad I did.

This bathroom was immaculate. The layout was simple. The stalls were all clean. Each stall was decked out with a metal case that dispensed seat covers and toilet paper and had a little shelf for whatever. The lighting was comfortable and supported by the pleasant earthy tones of the tile on the floor.

The only thing that was unusual were the urinals. Two of the four were not separated by partitions so that you just have this pair of urinals right next to each other. I cannot imagine a situation in which I would want to stand that close to another man while I pee especially with no wall to separate us. Its not a huge problem. It just seems unusual.

Overall, I would give this bathroom 4 out of 5 flushes. Its near perfect, but the difficult location is kind of a problem.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Going Green

Location: Third Floor Biomedical Engineering Building on the West end

Utilities: 2 Stalls (one handicap), 2 Urinals, 2 Sinks, Paper Towels, Soap Dispenser

I was on my way home from Kinsolving one evening headed East on Dean Keeton on the South side of the street when I decided to pop into the glass lobby of Biomedical Engineering Building to use the restroom. I'd used this bathroom before because it was convenient for my walk home after dinner and not as heavily used as the Men's bathroom in Kinsolving itself. The bathroom is really easy to find, almost visible from the street through the glass walls of the main lobby.

I'm really a fan of this bathroom for several reasons. For one, the building is almost entirely labs, and labs mean grad students, and grad students, typically, mean clean restrooms. That's usually the case with this one.

For another thing, the tile color scheme is fantastic. It fits in with the rest of the building's decor, and uses a delightful combination of earth tones that are dark enough to hide the dirty grout in between tiles. I find it very pleasant to look at while using the facilities.

The other major plus of this bathroom is its water conservation technology. Instead of having automated stalls it offers the typical public restroom flush handle with a twist. It is immediately clear that something is different because the handles themselves are green, which according to some panels on the wall is due to the fact that it is coated in a germ fighting material. The panels on the wall also describe the other function of the handles, namely that depending on the type of waste you in the toilet you press the handle a different way. It uses less water for liquid waste than solid waste thus conserving water for those of us who like to pee sitting down. I'm a fan of this as it makes me feel like I'm relieving the environment while I relieve myself.

I highly recommend this bathroom as it is convenient, clean and environmentally friendly. It gets my first five flushes out of five.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Poop on the Shelf

Location: Art Building and Museum First Floor

Utilities: 5 sinks (automated), 5 urinals (automated), 2 stalls (1 handicap, both automated), foam soap dispensers, paper towels

I was on my way home from Cypress Bend Cafe one afternoon when I decided to try a bathroom in a building I'd never been to before. As it was immediately to my right, I decided on the Art Building and Museum. Entering from San Jacinto near 23rd Street, I found the restrooms easily located down the hall to my left.
Upon entering, the layout was a little confusing. The sinks were placed to my right, but the stalls and urinals are down another hall to the left. The walls and floor were covered in two inch tiles that all looked a little too grimy for my taste. Personally I don't like little tiles like that. They're unpleasing to the eye, and because there's more grout gunk gets caught in the tile easier.
Everything about the bathroom seemed pretty standard. That was until I went into the handicap stall. First off, the seat was kind of rough and not well attached to the toilet. But more importantly there was no toilet paper dispenser. At all. Instead they had put a shelf in a corner of the stall with toilet paper rolls on it. And the shelf wasn't even low enough to get to from the toilet. You have to pick up the roll and hold it while you go. Its not the worst thing in the world, but its really inconvenient and not a difficult problem to fix.

Overall I give it a 2 out of 5. Feel free to pee here, but unless you enjoy handling your own toilet paper, poop elsewhere.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Like Peppermint and Sick

Location: Fourth Floor Texas Union on the North Side

Utilities: 2 Stalls (automatic), 2 Urinals (automatic), 2 sinks, Paper Towel Dispensers (automatic), soap dispensers

I've found that the further up you go into the Texas Union the cleaner the bathrooms are (particularly because the homeless are so fond of the second floor). This is why I often make the trek up to the fourth floor to the nicest (albeit smallest) of the bathrooms on the north end of the building. When you come up the north stairwell the bathroom is only a short walk down the hall.

Everything about the bathroom is relatively standard. The stalls are usually very clean and well stocked with the standard one ply toilet paper (the Union custodial staff does a pretty good job).

However when it comes to the sinks the water never seems to effectively rinse all the soap off of my hand. Upon further inspection it turned out this was a problem with all the faucets in the Union. For some reason, its too light to get the soap off which kind of bothers me.

My only other complaint is the smell. Like all the other bathrooms in the Union, this one contains a sent dispenser meant to cover the normal smells of the restroom. However, unlike the other restrooms, this one is about a third of the size. Unfortunately, the sent dispenser is not similarly down scaled so that the concentration of sent, a sickly sweet sort of peppermint, can be annoying at times. That isn't to say its rendered unusable because of this; it simply means it can hit you a little if you aren't prepared for it.

Overall, its a simple, clean restroom with a few forgivable problems. I give it four flushes out of five.

The Worst Bathroom I've Ever Seen

Location: First (?) Floor Battle Hall

Utilities: 4 Urinals, 2 Sinks, Soap Dispensers, Paper Towels, 3 "stalls"

I figure I ought to begin with the bathroom that inspired it all.

The location is pretty manageable. I first discovered it while walking from Dobie towards the West Mall. There is a pair of unassuming doors off of inner campus drive next to an outdoor set of stairs. I walked in and only had to turn a few corners to find the gates of hell.

When you walk in you can already tell something is wrong. The sinks are not attached to the wall, not including the pipes, but are rather balanced on a single porcelain leg. This is clearly a sign of the devil's magic at work. They are also roughly the size of bath tubs which make them great for washing blood off of your forearms.

The urinals seem fine enough, and the smell isn't even really that bad. But this is all probably because this bathroom never gets used due to the fact that...

THE STALLS ARE HORRIFYING. Now I'm not saying they are unclean or anything. They're relatively sanitary. Its actually the toilets themselves. You see, most common public restroom have a flat porcelain top on which a plastic seat can be rested. For whatever reason the plastic seat has an opening at the front so that the seat doesn't make a complete oval. On these toilets, instead of a flat porcelain top to the toilet the porcelain at the front is raised about an inch and a half, and the toilet is just short enough that sitting on it comfortably means resting your genitals on this nasty raised bit. This is all compounded by the fact that the plastic seats aren't even designed for this type of toilet. Instead, the part of the seat that would overlap with the porcelain has just been sheared off and not cleanly either, so it just jabs into your leg the whole time. The entire experience feels like a tiny man is simultaneously holding your junk up with one hand and stabbing your leg with the other.

So that's it. The most poorly designed bathroom I've ever been in. I give it zero flushes out of five (and a get the hell out of there while you're at it). Consequently that is the baseline for my bathroom scale, so keep that in mind as I review others.