27 January 2013

Spa World USA: The Korean Spa

This weekend I spent my Friday night at a Korean spa. If you haven't had the experience of playing dominoes at 2am surrounded by sleeping Koreans than you either didn't serve in the Korean war or you don't know how to play dominoes. Your time for the Korean war is past, unless of course you defect to North Korea, where the whole country is reminiscent of a war zone.
I arrived at the spa with several friends about 8:00pm on Friday night and we started with the unisex saunas. Hot ones, cold ones, charcoal ones, and amethyst ones. Then we retreated to the gender specific bade pools, where I floated in 64 degree water imagining I was Jack from Titanic. When the bading was done I emerged a cleaner, fresher copy of myself. I was dismayed to find none of my female friends in the common area, so I got a drink and relaxed on a very comfy chair hoping they hadn't drowned. Eventually one female friend emerged like a robin cracking through a watery egg shell, and we played dominoes.
Recognize those sexy legs on the right side of the photo?
In the common area of a Korean Spa in the middle of the night there's not a lot going on. Mostly people are sleeping. The people are mostly Koreans. But then there was this one guy who was definitely not Asian, but who was sleeping. Sort of an anomaly. Then there was Chang and I (Juan) (I need to mask our true identities since it's likely the N. Koreans are checking my blog). We were neither Asian nor sleeping, though we should have been (sleeping, not Asian). It was a little bit strange having a personal conversation surrounded by people lying on the floor. I almost felt like instead of asking "How many siblings do you have?" I should have been whispering "We're the only two people left on this forsaken planet. We're surrounded by the dead. It is up to us to start the human race over again." Using my best judgement however, I decided that might have been a little peculiar and a little forward, so I went with the siblings question instead. As the night wore on the domino game got more and more unusual, though always intemerate. We played Mexican train for some time, that length being approximately 28 minutes. People were snoring, people were scratching, people were rolling, people were probably listening, but still we carried on with our game.
The clothing provided and required by the spa is scrubs inspired by North Korea. They have the uncanny ability to make anyone less attractive, which I think is what the Spa is going for. You can't just have a bunch of attractive people roaming the spa looking good and not expect some communal togetherness such as a flash mob to spring up. Plus, when everyone is dressed the same it's a whole lot harder to tell who's Asian and who's named Juan. I sense that this post is about to take a racist turn for the worst so I'm going to move in another direction. After Chang and I finished our boba tea and concluded Mexican train, we considered our options. At 2:00am in a Korean Spa there is much to pontificate. After much deliberation we narrowed our options down to 3:
#1- Go home and sleep in our own beds.
#2- Follow suit and sleep on the floor with everyone else. Maybe even spoon with a stranger, though I didn't sense that was acceptable behavior in Korea. Or America come to think of it.
#3-Release the hounds.
That third option would require someone procuring hounds and then sneaking them into the spa in captivity for us to release, so we bagged after just 20 phone calls. Apparently people aren't too thrilled to be getting requests to capture dogs in the middle of the night. That's how you know who your true friends are.
All in all we thought better of sleeping on the floor and went our separate ways. It was pretty early in the morning by the time I found my own bed, but deciding to really let the experience settle in I chose to sleep on the floor next to my bed instead. Fred read 'Dead Lead: Bread" to me via an podcast, and at last I fell asleep. What a great night at the Spa.

08 January 2013

How to Succeed in a Job Interview

Generally it's a good idea to only write publicly about a job interview after you've gotten the job, in case the alternative happens (the alternative- naturally- being that you get eaten by land-dwelling tuna and can't write about it after-the-fact). But I'm not really the most conventional writer and certainly not when it comes to blogging, so here goes: I have a job interview on Thursday. At this point my boss (who doesn't even know I have a blog) just gasped as she Googled "Holla Atchya David!" and this post popped up and she read that I'm applying elsewhere. But fear not: the job for which I am applying is not a teaching job. It will not require me to terminate my current employment (hear that ladies? I'm employed) or even alter my current schedule. At this point she is thinking I'm probably a sushi chef, and you're thinking the ostensible truth has to be I'm applying to be a woodsman. But you would both be wrong. My interview is for a baseball coaching position.
A friend of mine at work is the varsity baseball coach for a local high school and he invited me to apply for the job as an assistant coach. Wait- lower your expectation a little before you read on. The position is not to work with the varsity team. Wait- lower your expectation a little more. The position is not to be coach of the JV team. Okay, now that the expectations limbo has been sufficiently maintained, I will reveal that I'm applying for the position of JV assistant coach. And frankly that's just what I want. I have a feeling the the interview will go something like this:

Them: "Mr. Bennett, what type of baseball coaching experience do you have?"
Me: "I run the Math Counts team at my school! We got Most Improved last year!"
Them: "Interesting. How about in athletics. What experience do you have coaching athletics?"
Me: "Well, one time a student of mine didn't know how to do two-step equations, so I helped him after school! He totally nailed it on the test!"
Them: "Okay, you sound like a great math teacher. But let's get back to athletics. Your coaching experience sounds a little thin. Have you ever even offered advice to an athlete before?"
Me: "Oh yes, sir! All the time. At least two of my students are on the wrestling team and I often inform them that they have puss coming out of their ears."
Them: "That's just disgusting Mr. Bennett. Please don't ever say that out loud again. I think we're done discussing your coaching history. Let's move on to your playing career. Tell us about your playing experience."
Me: "When I was in 3rd grade I played a farmer in our school play and although I didn't have a speaking part, I did get to play my trumpet in two separate scenes!"
Them: "Well, you certainly have eclectic tastes. But back to baseball. When did you last play competitive baseball?
Me: "Does skiing count?"
Them: "No."
Me: "Then I'd have to say last week."
Them: "Oh? Really? Well that's great! What league were you playing in?"
Me: "I don't exactly remember the league, but the level was Moo Moo Meadows."
Them: "Mr. Bennett, you do realize that's an arena on Mario Kart, don't you? That has nothing to do with baseball."
Me: "I'm sorry, I must have misunderstood you. Could you please repeat the question?"
Them: "Do you know what this is?" (Holding up a baseball)
Me: "Does it light up?"
Them: "No. It does not."
Me: "Well then it's definitely not my first guess, which was a new  form of Latvian currency. I guess I'll go with my second guess: A new product for our purses?"
Them: "You make absolutely no sense. What purses are you talking about?"
Me: "Wait a second. This isn't the interview for manager at the Coach store is it..."

All joking aside, I do need to brush up a little on my coaching skills. I really hope they aren't assuming I played in the MLB... or in college... or high school... or in little league... or anything like that. I stopped by the library and picked up some books on coaching baseball after work on Monday. I've been reading them ferociously, but astonishingly none of the books have a chapter on "Passing a Coaching Interview When You Have No Coaching or Playing Experience." C'mon publishers.
It was really fun staging this photo shoot.
As I've been studying up for my big interview I've felt like I'm getting ready for the MCAT or something. There's so much information about everything in these books and I've really been cramming hardcore, with bits of blogging, movies, shopping and school mixed in with all the studying. I've got flashcards, concept webs, and baseball cards.
Do you have any advice for me in my interview? At the very least please pray for me to do well. If you're not the praying type then please wish upon a shooting star or lucky number that my testosterone-inducing beard will overpower my experience deficiencies in the face of my interviewers.

03 January 2013

The Cons of a Beard

I think it's time to shave my beard. For a long time I thought it wouldn't be a phase, but rather a lifestyle. Frankly I'm still not sure which one it is. Does having a beard for 6 months constitute a lifestyle or just a phase? I'll let you decide. Keep in mind that some people meet, date, get engaged, and marry different people in a six month span. Other people obviously don't get married, but instead grow beards.
The decision to shave my beard (it hasn't happened as of press time by the way, so don't believe it until you see it) has come after careful introspection. The following reasons are evidence that it is time for a razor.

  1. There's always hair in your food. When you go to pull it out it's always attached to your face. It's a no-win situation. First there's hair in your food which no one enjoys except the shower drain named Gonzo. Then, when you go to remove the hair, it's as if someone were yanking on your face. It happens all the time.
  2. There's always food in your hair. It's nearly impossible to eat pizza without at least one pepperoni getting caught in your chin hair. To make matters worse, you have no idea that there's food down there. I started wearing a hairnet on my chin which also didn't help until I attached some micro mirrors onto the hairnet that allow me to see what's going on immediately below my lips. One time I wiped my lips and an entire cream cheesed bagel fell off my face. Who knows how long it had been there!
  3. When you take a nap on a park bench at 3am and you've forgotten your coat, people immediately assume you're homeless. Um, hello people, just because I got locked out and have a beard it doesn't mean I don't have a job. Goodness gracious, I never knew the assumptions people make about bearded men.
  4. Beards require upkeep. They need to be washed, conditioned, fluffed, blow dried, trimmed, occasionally mowed, and always treated with respect. If my fingernail lengths are any indicator, I've been spending too much time on my facial hair and not enough on the rest of me. It's time to even things out.
  5. Beards are highly flammable. I tend to do a lot of candle sniffing, especially around the holidays. I cannot tell you how many times I bent down to get a whiff of something delicious only to find that my face was on fire. Imagine wrapping your chin in straw dipped in gasoline and you can imagine having a beard.
  6. At the other end of the spectrum is icicles. Any time I fell while skiing I ended up with a little snowman keeping my cheeks rosy. When I'd come in at lunch all I needed to do was lick my chops and my thirst was quenched.
It's like you can never win with a beard. Either it's got food in it, or it's in the food. Either you let it go mangy and people think you're homeless, or you pay so much attention to it that you start neglecting regular activities like buying new contacts. Either it's on fire, or it's got icicles in it. It's basically a full time job keeping the hair out of the food and the food out of the hair. It's almost more than I can take. 
The decision to shave, or at least trim back, my facial hair came after this realization: Beards generally impress men, not women. Sure they're manly, but so are chainsaws and I've never seen a woman go for a man with a chainsaw. I've asserted my manliness to enough dudes and now it's time to go back to my sweet side and see what I can do about the lady situation.