Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Kotas Reviews Float Nashville

Hello Everyone! It's the Holiday Season at last! Honestly, the whole Christmas/New Year's package deal is probably my favorite time of the year. I love the lights, the ornaments, the giant inflatable monstrosities that festoon people's lawns, the cards, the eggnog the wrapping paper, the music, the ribbons, the TV specials, on the noise, noise, noise, NOISE! So of course I dragged my family to Nashville's Opryland Hotel to see all the Christmas Fuss right at the start of the season. While I was there, a buddy of mine goaded invited me to try out an isolation tank. So, of course I had to. Ladies, Gentlemen, Hippies of All Ages, let's take a look at Float Nashville.

Seven Days a Week!
Float Nashville is a little shop in a business park in a part of Nashville I never visit. Luckily, it was only about 15 minutes from the hotel. I admit I was somewhat skeptical of the whole affair, but you know what? Trying things is sort of my idiom these days, so what the heck, eh? The office itself was fairly small and cozy, and the staff was pretty laid back and friendly. The lady at the desk answered all of my questions and didn't bat an eye at the simplicity of them ("So, is it really a tank? Really? For sure?"). We ended up going for a 90 minute session.

So, first thing, you don't need a bathing suit or anything at this place. They put you in a private room with your tank, a robe, and such, and the door locks, so you have that going on for you. I'm told you can wear a bathing suit, but eh, if you are gonna go, you might as well go whole hog. First, you put in some earplugs. Then, shower, but don't use the provided conditioner. This is to keep things pretty clean. Before you even enter the room though, they flush the tank and put in the...rather large amount of Epsom salts that lets you actually, you know, float. So, you've showered, and you've made sure the fresh water spray bottle and clean hand towel are situated to be at hand in case you get some of the water in your eyes (spoiler...I totally did and was super grateful for the spray bottle). Time to enter...THE TANK.

Definitely not an oven.
The thank itself is a little boxy contraption with a door on it, some pumps at the bottom, and many handles to grab onto. It looks a bit like a miniaturized Star Trek style shuttle craft. The door swings freely, so you aren't locked in or anything (which was a concern for me, since I have been known to get mildly fearful when in confined spaces), and the mood lighting will shut off once it senses no more movement. I stripped down and started to shower...and the shower head popped off the wall. It was certainly surprising. Anyway, I had to robe up and inform the staff. Without a shower head, the shower pipe still put out enough water that I could go ahead and keep going, so that's exactly what I did. It was only a little awkward. The things I do for my art. Still, IN WE GO!

My own private spa treatment.
So, you slide on it, shut the door, lay back, and relax. The water is 94 degrees, which is theoretically the surface temperature of our skin, but they apparently don't know that I'm a furnace inside. Still, it wasn't unpleasant getting it. And boy, do you really float. All that salt did an excellent job of keeping me above water. I opted to use this little ring thing for my head for comfort, but I probably didn't need it. The only things I could see were...nothing, and the only things I could hear were the sound of my own heartbeat, my breathing, and a very quiet background hum that I assumed was the pumps, which were otherwise not running. I certainly felt isolated, so I just laid back and tried to blank out. 

Mission fucking accomplished, because I dozed off. It was really easy to fall asleep in this thing, and I had absolutely no fear of rolling over and drowning because you float really, REALLY well and it's very comfortable. Like what I feel a water bed should feel like, instead of what it actually feels like, which is weird. The illusion of isolation is certainly there, but if you stretch out enough you hit the edges of the tank, which sort of brings you back to reality. I did have a fairly vivid dream, but it wasn't a dream that was particularly unusual or insightful. Just vivid. Upon waking, I apparently still had time in the tank, and while I was relaxed, I did get a bit bored. No hallucinations, no great revelations, just me and dark and quiet. Super comfy though. When time was up, they turned on some loud yet trancy music, and I showered off, got dressed, and exited. I'll give it this, though: I had a bit of stiffness in my neck and back from the longish drive to Nashville, and my time in the tank cleared that right up.

On the FACE Rating System, this gets 1 Smiley Face. I certainly didn't hate it, and in fact found it very relaxing and nice. But that's all it was: nice. It was an extended Epsom salt soak, in the dark, with earplugs. Given all the stuff people say about floating, I feel like I missed something, and for $74 a session, I'm not convinced it was "totally worth it". Still, this is about what I'd expect to pay at a spa for some long treatment, and I must say I do want to try it again. I'm not sure if it is totally for me, but I can't help feeling like I need to do it again to really get the most out of my time with floating. That's weird, I'll grant you, but it was a nice experience. On the whole, definitely give it a try, if you've got the time and money. It's definitely not for everyone, but it is both better and worse than I expected. Super chill time, but don't expect to have your mind blown.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Kotas Reviews Mountain Dew Holiday Brew

Well, now that we've all recovered from our Thanksgiving comas, I suppose it's high time I got back to work around here. So many things to review, so little time. Still, I like to get a bit festive for the start of the Christmas season. I do love Christmas and all that comes with it: Trees, Presents, endless repeats of shitty television specials on ABC Family, eggnog, and yes, even fruitcake. Fight me. So to kick off the celebration, we'll start with a holiday themed...uh...soda. Let's take a look at Mountain Dew Holiday Brew.

It rhymes!
Well well well, seems like Mountain Dew is still experimenting with mixed flavors for the holiday season. This go around it seems that the Christmas season is in its sights, after the 4th of July got the extreeeeeeme treatment. For most of my adult life, Mountain Dew has been the flavor of snowboarders, BMX stars, and elite gamers, mostly because of the caffeine kick it provides and the citrus shock to the taste buds. Not too bad for a soda named after slang for moonshine whiskey, eh? Let's smash it open!

Franklin Delano Doughnut approved.
Honestly, I'm not sure what I was expecting here. This particular soda is a blend of standard Mountain Dew and their cherry flavored Code Red variant. Code Red is basically one of my favorite soda flavors of all time, so of course I had to try this. I was not expecting the resulting beverage to be so pink though. Grade school color wheel knowledge would indicate it would be more yellow, but hell, what do I know? Let's drink it!

You know, it's not bad. The citrus portion of regular Mountain Dew compliments the Code Red cherry nicely, and gives the whole concoction a nice zing of holiday cheer. It doesn't linger in the mouth either. Quite refreshing actually. I think I like this! Bravo, Pepsi Co, bravo.

On the FACE Rating System, this gets 2 Smiley Faces. It's a darn tasty soda and, actual color not withstanding, is a nice way to market a holiday limited edition. Ya killin' it Mountain Dew, and coming from me, that's saying something. Give it a whirl if you like soda!