Tag Archives: Social Awareness

Pipe Dreams and the Search for Loo-topia

Book Cover of Pipe Dreams by Chelsea Wald

As for public toilets, they too often fail people, especially the vulnerable and marginalized, either because they don’t exist or because they don’t accommodate all that people might need or want to do in them (Wald, 174).

Any long-time VPL blog readers will find it no surprise that I immediately placed on hold and subsequently devoured* Pipe Dreams: The urgent global quest to transform the toilet within a couple days of receiving it. But if you haven’t (yet) had the pleasure(?) of reading my enthusiastic gushing about the alimentary canal and writing probably altogether too many times the word “intestine” in any one paragraph… just know that an entire book dedicated to toilets is to me essentially a siren call (not toilet humour, mind you – though Pipe Dreams is fun to read and at times funny, and the book is not completely without puns – but Wald focuses much more on topics such as the social consequences of water flushing toilets and the sewers they require, the lack of toilets in many parts of the world – including within the U.S.! – as well as serious considerations on the topic of what to do with all that urine and fecal matter, because we’re not about to stop production anytime soon!).

So if you’ve never thought too much about toilets until you found yourself out about town**, on a hike, or maybe on a roadtrip, desperately trying to recall where the last public toilet (or more likely, gas station) was, or conjecturing whether one will come up soon, join us as we embark upon this journey into toilets, the sewers, and so many different ways to manage fecal sludge and urine that you never knew you wanted to learn about, all on the quest for Loo-topia!

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Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness–Melissa Dahl

Do you cringe when you see that embarrassing photos from your teenage years on Cringeworthy: A Theory of AwkwardnessFacebook? Have you been on a date filled with unbearable silence? Did you ever go blank in the middle of a presentation with the audience staring at you? Being human is all about being awkward, and that’s ok.

Melissa Dahl takes on this underappreciated emotion and searched for the meaning behind it and how to come to term with it. Through a series of personal experience and professional research, Dahl came to the conclusion that awkward moments are universal; they can be opportunities for us to have better self-awareness and accept who you are. There are some really interesting psychology experiments as well as the author’s experience with improve class and Mortified show that made me to look at cringe-worthy moments differently.

This book is humorous, informative and a light read. Highly recommended–you will have new appreciation towards awkwardness.

You might also like:

Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things