You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for March, 2011.

Whither?

March 17th, 2011

So how many regional wars in one region can one country be involved in before we call it World War III?

Warts

March 14th, 2011

One thing I have learned from paying attention to Spring Training coverage this year:  during spring training, people will talk about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING at great length, either because they are desperate for the season to start, or bored from the winter, or both.  This will not be news to more seasoned baseball fans.  However, if I read one more story, hear one more news report, or listen to one more discussion during a game about Michael Cuddyer’s wart, I think I will lose my mind.  And why was I stupid enough to click the link to the pics of it he posted on his Flickr account?  I have no sense sometimes!

Strangely compelling spa day

March 13th, 2011

A few days ago, I went with a friend to Spa World, a Korean style spa/bathhouse.  This WaPo article describes it pretty well.  The CliffNotes version:

  • there are two single-sex pools
  • you must be naked in the pool
  • the pools have all kinds of fun jets, for feet, hips, back, etc.
  • you hop in the pool and move around, relaxing with all the different jets
  • there are also two hot pools, a kids pool, a cold pool, a dry sauna, steam room, a cold pool, a cold shower and regular showers
  • in the pool-area, you can get a body scrub massage that removes dead skin
  • in the co-ed area, you have to wear jammies that look prison-issued
  • the co-ed area also has more saunas (called “poultice rooms”), an ice room, a common area to chill out in, a snack bar, sofas, a restaurant and free wi-fi
  • there’s an upstairs area that has regular massages, foot/hand massages, salon services,
  • there’s also a gameroom and gym

There may also be other areas I didn’t see.  The place is HUGE.  It was a totally awesome — and foreign — experience.  The pool was interesting.  After feeling uncomfortable with the nudity for 5 minutes or so, I completely forgot that I was naked.  It was not a big deal at all.  We hung out in the various pools for about 30 minutes (I even tried the super cold shower), then I had a body scrub.

If you have an image in your mind of massage that involves complicated draping, new age music, quiet, and scented oils, forget it all.  For the body scrub massage, you get on a pink plastic-coated table (that is either internally heated or warmed with hot water — I couldn’t tell).  There is no privacy — other women were getting scrubs in the same area I was, and you could see into the scrub area from the pool.  Then a woman scrubs you all over with very scratchy mitts, periodically dousing you with hot or cold water, or hitting a few pressure points.  I got the 30 minute massage, and the main focus was to scrub off an entire layer of my skin.  Longer massages include a facial and/or more massage.  The scrub is intimate and extremely thorough.  My whole body got scrubbed.  Every single bit.  I had trouble figuring out whether to laugh or cry through most of it.  In the end, my skin was extremely smooth — baby’s bottom smooth.  And I was completely amazed by how much dead skin I was carrying around.  Although the massage was very  intimate, it was also impersonal.  Like the pool, after I got used to it I didn’t feel uncomfortable, just uncertain.

I also got a pressure-point foot massage, which was really great.  The foot massage room had big red chairs lined up against a wall that were extremely comfortable.  The massage was intense, but I liked it, and my feet felt great after.  I limped a bit that night, but the next day my feet were fine.

The poultice rooms were interesting.  We looked in all of them.  Each room has a different theme and temperature, with signs that describe their supposed benefits.  For example, the amethyst room improves energy flow and improves the body’s “overall condition.”  We hung out a bit in the salt room, tried out the red ball room (where I managed to slip and fall on the balls!), and the ice room.

We also had lunch in the restaurant, which was fine.  I had rice, veggies and a fried egg in a earthenware dish.  I liked it a lot, but am not familiar enough with Korean food to evaluate it.

The spa is inexpensive:  $35 gets you in the door and gives you access to the pool and poultice rooms.  We had coupons for $20 off.  The scrubby massage was $50 and the foot massage was $45.  Lunch was about $12.

Many of the Yelp reviews of SpaWorld complain that it isn’t clean.  I didn’t find this to be a problem.  I found the pool area to be as clean as my local public pool, which is pretty clean.  The locker rooms were very clean, and the rest of the facilities were just fine.  If you are uncomfortable walking around in bare feet in a common area, you might want flip flops (I was really glad I had mine).

Would I go again?  Definitely!!  I would do both massages again, although maybe not on the same day.  I’d also like to go back and spend more time in the poultice rooms, and try out the steam room.  It was relaxing and fun, and a nice way to spend time with my friend.  Next time, I would bring a bath towel and at least one small handtowel to provide a little cushion on the wooden pillows in the poultice rooms.  Those items, my flip flops, and my Kindle were all I needed.

Evernote for iPhone 4.0

March 10th, 2011

I recently downloaded the new Evernote app for iPhone (4.0).  In general, I like it — and it addresses most of what I thought it was lacking before.  However, I still have the following problems using it:

  • You still can’t edit photo notes on the iPhone.  I’d really like to be able to re-size and crop a photo (I don’t need any other editing functions) and to easily add text to a note with a photo.  Instead, I have to sync it to my laptop and edit the note in the full Windows Evernote program.  Which is annoying, since a lot of times I’ll forget why I took the picture by the time I do all that.
  • I adore the way you can now review all the notes by looking at the thumbnail pictures.  This is a fantastic addition to the app that makes it much more useful.  If I’ve put a photo in a note, I probably will recall it by a visual cue more readily than by a keyword.  The problem is with notes I’ve created on my computer using the “add to Evernote” browser button or by hitting Windows-a.  I often get lots of stray pictures in those notes — background images, advertisements, etc.  I try to edit them out, but often it’s impossible to do so, especially with background images.  I end up having to start a new note, copy the bits I want to keep into it, then delete the old note.  I’m lazy about doing this, so I end up with notes that have many stray pictures in them, which makes the new thumbnail pictures much less useful.
  • This is related to the second point, but is really a distinct problem.  Can we please, please, please have the option to create plain text notes?  Sometimes, I just want to create a text-only note with not one single spec of formatting.  I understand why Evernote would not want this to be the default setting, since the formatting notes are much nicer to look at and use, and Evernote is nothing if not slick.  But I find that I yearn for the ability to just type words.  Let’s say I’m storing boilerplate or sample code that I want to be able to cut and paste into different documents — in those cases, formatting is extremely problematic and decreases Evernote’s utility.  This issue is not unique to the iPhone app — it cuts across all platforms.

Link dump

March 9th, 2011
Baseball sign by the team of the Minnesota Twins.

Image via Wikipedia

I’m becoming more interested in baseball, and since (a) my husband is a Minnesota Twins fan, and (b) the Twins have an outstanding farm team system and I really, really, REALLY like minor league baseball, it seemed like a good idea for me to also be a Twins fan (also, it keeps the household squabbling limited to non-sports themes).

Justin Morneau, Twins first baseman, played his first game yesterday since July 7, 2010 when he suffered a concussion during a game.  Even though it’s just a spring training game, Twins fans were ecstatic over seeing him play, and better yet, hearing that he felt good.

This made me curious about concussions in baseball.  I’ve heard a lot of news about concussions in all high school sports, and and in college and professional football, but not about baseball.  I found the following articles helpful:

  • An older article about emerging concerns about concussions: Baseball taking note of concussion
  • MLB is considering a shorter, 7-day disabled list, as a response to increased concern about concussions.  Once a player is on the 15-day or 6-day disabled list, they can’t come off it early, even if they are fully recovered.  Since most concussions are healed in a few days, some teams (and players) may be reluctant to utilize the 15-day list for concussion.
  • A 7-day DL would have to be approved by the player’s union. They are working with medical experts to study concussions, and come up with a comprehensive treatment protocol, that might include a 7-day disabled list.
  • A shorter DL might lead to too much of a one-size-fits all approach to concussion, which like any brain injury, requires a very personalized, individualized treatment approach (link here and many others).