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  11. <title>Dreambeast</title>
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  13. <link>http://dreambeast.net</link>
  14. <description>My Enthusiasms and Obsessions</description>
  15. <lastBuildDate>Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:18:19 +0000</lastBuildDate>
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  20. <item>
  21. <title>I am not a weed</title>
  22. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2015/06/i-am-not-a-weed/</link>
  23. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2015/06/i-am-not-a-weed/#comments</comments>
  24. <pubDate>Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:18:19 +0000</pubDate>
  25. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  26. <category><![CDATA[Photos]]></category>
  27.  
  28. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=211</guid>
  29. <description><![CDATA[There were no lawns in Soldiers Summit, the town where I lived until I was four, only wild grasses and flowers. Every spring the dandelions bloomed. I loved the huge yellow blossoms dotting the hillside, and when they went to seed, I thought of them as ghost flowers. Dandelions are as beautiful as any flower [&#8230;]]]></description>
  30. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><p>There were no lawns in Soldiers Summit, the town where I lived until I was four, only wild grasses and flowers. Every spring the dandelions bloomed. I loved the huge yellow blossoms dotting the hillside, and when they went to seed, I thought of them as ghost flowers. Dandelions are as beautiful as any flower cultivated in a garden, yet people lay poison on their lawns to kill them. Below is a small photo tribute to the despised plants that we call weeds.</p>
  31. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  32. <p><a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Dandelion.jpg"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-212 size-medium" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Dandelion-300x251.jpg" alt="I am not a weed." width="300" height="251" /></a></p>
  33. <h2 style="text-align: center;">I am not a weed.</h2>
  34. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  35. <p><a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Heart-of-Gold.jpg"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-213 size-medium" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Heart-of-Gold-300x222.jpg" alt="I am a beautiful flower" width="300" height="222" /></a></p>
  36. <h2 style="text-align: center;">I am a beautiful flower.</h2>
  37. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  38. <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Sisters.jpg"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-214 size-medium" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Sisters-300x200.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="200" /></a></p>
  39. <h2 style="text-align: center;">We are not weeds.</h2>
  40. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  41. <p><a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Purple-Beauty.jpg"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-215 size-medium" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Purple-Beauty-300x200.jpg" alt="We make a garden wherever we grow." width="300" height="200" /></a></p>
  42. <h2 style="text-align: center;">We make a garden wherever we grow.</h2>
  43. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  44. <p><a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Goldilocks.jpg"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-217 size-medium" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Goldilocks-187x300.jpg" alt="By a tree . . ." width="187" height="300" /></a></p>
  45. <h2 style="text-align: center;">By a tree . . .</h2>
  46. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  47. <p><a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Twins.jpg"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-216 size-medium" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Twins-300x200.jpg" alt=". . . or beside a waste treatment plant." width="300" height="200" /></a></p>
  48. <h2 style="text-align: center;">. . . or beside a waste treatment plant.</h2>
  49. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  50. <p><a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Wild-Garden.jpg"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-225 size-medium" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Wild-Garden-300x200.jpg" alt="Wild Gardens" width="300" height="200" /></a></p>
  51. <h2 style="text-align: center;">We are all flowers. Let us live.</h2>
  52. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  53. ]]></content:encoded>
  54. <wfw:commentRss>http://dreambeast.net/2015/06/i-am-not-a-weed/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  55. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  56. </item>
  57. <item>
  58. <title>What Is It about Drug Dealers?</title>
  59. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2012/01/what-is-it-about-drug-dealers/</link>
  60. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2012/01/what-is-it-about-drug-dealers/#comments</comments>
  61. <pubDate>Mon, 23 Jan 2012 03:15:30 +0000</pubDate>
  62. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  63. <category><![CDATA[Breaking Bad]]></category>
  64.  
  65. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=184</guid>
  66. <description><![CDATA[&#8220;The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.&#8221; — Oscar Wilde My husband, the always perceptive Joe Heumann, recently pointed to an alarming pattern in my TV obsessions. The shows that hook me have disturbing elements in common. Crime and violence. Lots and lots of violence. A lead character who [&#8230;]]]></description>
  67. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><p>&#8220;<em>The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.&#8221;</em> — Oscar Wilde</p>
  68. <div id="attachment_190" class="wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 300px">
  69. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Breaking-Bad-breaking-bad-703167_460_309.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-190 " title="The worst part is the ugly shirt." src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Breaking-Bad-breaking-bad-703167_460_309-300x201.jpg" alt="The worst part is the ugly shirt." width="300" height="201" /></a>
  70. <p class="wp-caption-text">Iconic Shot of Walter</p>
  71. </div>
  72. <p>My husband, the always perceptive Joe Heumann, recently pointed to an alarming pattern in my TV obsessions. The shows that hook me have disturbing elements in common. Crime and violence. Lots and lots of violence. A lead character who is a conflicted sociopath — Dexter, Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy, or any of a dozen characters in <em>The Wire</em>. And now Walter White , the high-school chemistry teacher who starts cooking meth to pay for his cancer treatments in the AMC series <em>Breaking Bad</em>.</p>
  73. <h3>A Midlife Career Change</h3>
  74. <p>Walter (Brian Cranston) is  a talented scientist who — for personal reasons that remain shrouded — turned his back on a lucrative career as a researcher  and became a high-school teacher. In the first episode, he&#8217;s so underpaid he works part-time at a carwash, where one of his smartass students takes a picture of him wiping tires, a shot that will no doubt pop up on two or three hundred adolescent cell phones. What unbearable humiliation. Yet Walter bears it.</p>
  75. <div id="attachment_191" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 300px">
  76. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Breaking-Bad-breaking-bad-703184_500_330.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-191" title="Family guys get no respect" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Breaking-Bad-breaking-bad-703184_500_330-300x198.jpg" alt="Family Guys Get No respect" width="300" height="198" /></a>
  77. <p class="wp-caption-text">Walter en Famille</p>
  78. </div>
  79. <p>Then he&#8217;s diagnosed with lung cancer. The medical bills will wipe out the family&#8217;s meagre savings. No college for Junior. A diminished future for the daughter soon to be born. During a ridealong with his DEA brother-in-law, Walter sees the piles of cash confiscated from a busted meth lab and wakes up to the unvarnished truth about life.</p>
  80. <h3>Nice Guys Finish Last</h3>
  81. <p>Walter is done being a nice guy. He teams up with a former student (Aaron Paul) and begins his transformation into master meth cook Heisenberg. By the end of the first episode he&#8217;s already snuffed a guy. True, the guy is going to kill him, so he doesn&#8217;t have much choice. With this initial killing Walter takes the first step onto a long and very slippery slope. By the middle of season two, he&#8217;s responsible — directly or indirectly — for the deaths of quite a few people. Hundreds if you count the midair plane collision caused by the grieving air-traffic controller father of Jesse&#8217;s girlfriend, whose life Walter could have saved. He watches as she chokes to death on her own vomit. The bitch is just too snotty and inconvenient.</p>
  82. <p>Near the end of season three, Walter casually plugs a bullet into the head of a man lying wounded in the street.</p>
  83. <div id="attachment_193" class="wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 300px">
  84. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Breaking-Bad-3-12-Half-Measures-breaking-bad-12879378-760-535.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-193" title="But bad guys do." src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Breaking-Bad-3-12-Half-Measures-breaking-bad-12879378-760-535-300x211.jpg" alt="But bad guys do." width="300" height="211" /></a>
  85. <p class="wp-caption-text">Heisenberg</p>
  86. </div>
  87. <p>Fragments of the old Walter remain. At one point he gives up cooking to keep his wife from divorcing him. But it&#8217;s too late to go back. When he sees it won&#8217;t work, he signs the divorce papers and accepts a three-million-dollar offer to cook for a drug kingpin.</p>
  88. <h3>There&#8217;s Something about Walter</h3>
  89. <p>I can&#8217;t help liking this renegade high-school teacher. He doesn&#8217;t have Dexter&#8217;s animal magnetism or Jax&#8217;s slinky sexiness. He has the face of a guy who should have started using sunscreen decades ago. If he&#8217;s going parade around in his underwear, he needs to take up Pilates or weight-lifting. For viewers who want sexy, there&#8217;s his partner, Jesse, played by Aaron Paul. But Cranston brings such compelling and charismatic energy to the role that I have to get behind Walter. I hope he resists the urge to destroy himself. I hope he crushes his enemies, ends up with piles and piles of cash, and enjoys a quiet retirement, his cancer in remission. One evening he’ll be eating dinner at a posh restaurant where the jerk who snapped his picture at the carwash now works as a busboy. Walter could give him a hard time, even kill him. But why bother? Stepping on the little jerk would mean getting shit on his shoe.</p>
  90. <div id="attachment_195" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 300px">
  91. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Breaking-Bad-3-01-No-Mas-breaking-bad-11163521-760-535.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-195" title="I love the way he keeps calling Walter &quot;Mr. White.&quot;" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Breaking-Bad-3-01-No-Mas-breaking-bad-11163521-760-535-300x211.jpg" alt="I love the way he keeps calling Walter &quot;Mr. White.&quot;" width="300" height="211" /></a>
  92. <p class="wp-caption-text">Jesse, Walter&#39;s Former Student and Now Partner</p>
  93. </div>
  94. <p>Yet I know the story won’t end like that. Nice guys might finish last, but bad guys don’t escape without retribution.  One way or another, Walter has to go down in flames.</p>
  95. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  96. <p>Photos from <a title="FanPop" href="http://www.fanpop.com">FanPop</a></p>
  97. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  98. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  99. ]]></content:encoded>
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  101. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  102. </item>
  103. <item>
  104. <title>Ridin&#8217; Through this World</title>
  105. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2011/11/ridin-through-this-world/</link>
  106. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2011/11/ridin-through-this-world/#comments</comments>
  107. <pubDate>Sat, 12 Nov 2011 19:35:11 +0000</pubDate>
  108. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  109. <category><![CDATA[Sons of Anarchy]]></category>
  110.  
  111. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=169</guid>
  112. <description><![CDATA[If you have no interest whatsoever in the FX series chronicling the adventures of the motorcycle gang Sons of Anarchy, or if you haven&#8217;t been keeping up with season four, read no further. You&#8217;ll be either bored or pissed at me for spoiling the story. Season four is the best so far. The actors give [&#8230;]]]></description>
  113. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><div id="attachment_170" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 243px">
  114. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Juice.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-170   " title="Back Against the Wall" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Juice-300x236.jpg" alt="" width="243" height="191" /></a>
  115. <p class="wp-caption-text">Juice</p>
  116. </div>
  117. <p>If you have no interest whatsoever in the FX series chronicling the adventures of the motorcycle gang Sons of Anarchy, or if you haven&#8217;t been keeping up with season four, read no further. You&#8217;ll be either bored or pissed at me for spoiling the story.</p>
  118. <div id="attachment_171" class="wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 159px">
  119. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Episode-4-11-Opie.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-171" title="Noble at Heart" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Episode-4-11-Opie-199x300.jpg" alt="Noble at Heart" width="159" height="240" /></a>
  120. <p class="wp-caption-text">Opie</p>
  121. </div>
  122. <p>Season four is the best so far. The actors give astonishing performances, especially Theo Rossi as Juice, who previously seemed like a minor member of the Sons. But now, with a creepy federal prosecutor blackmailing him to rat out his club, his torment is harrowing. The story has me twisted into such a painful state of suspense I wish I&#8217;d waited for the season to end before beginning to watch. As it is, I must wait FOUR MORE DAYS to find out whether Juice betrays the Sons, whether Gemma makes Clay pay for beating the shit out of her, whether Jax and Tara&#8217;s relationship survives the career-ending injury to her hand, or for that matter, whether Tara survives the next assassination attempt by the ruthless Mexican drug cartel Clay sicced on her. I wonder how many other members of the club will be gunned down before the season ends. (Oh please, not Opie. He reminds me, just a little, of my brother.)</p>
  123. <div id="attachment_172" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 243px">
  124. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Promotional-Pics-sons-of-anarchy-Clay.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-172 " title="Back-Stabbing Motherfucker" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Promotional-Pics-sons-of-anarchy-Clay-300x199.jpg" alt="Back-Stabbing Motherfucker" width="243" height="161" /></a>
  125. <p class="wp-caption-text">Clay</p>
  126. </div>
  127. <p>Underlying my suspense is a terrible apprehension. The show&#8217;s writers have set the story on a reckless, headlong course that could end in a cataclysmic crash that leaves nothing and nobody standing for season five. I suspect Tara will die. The dramatic possibilities of the love between her and Jax appear to be exhausted. With her demise, Jax could leave the kids with his mom and be free to ride. Clay has become such a blackguard, I can hardly stand to look at him anymore, and I&#8217;ll lose all respect for Gemma if she fucks that bastard instead of fucking him up. Maybe Clay has to die so Ron Perlman can make Hellboy III, but as much as I hate the character, I have trouble imagining the series without his grizzled, leering presence.</p>
  128. <p>The writers are driving <em>Sons of Anarchy</em> to the edge of nihilism and daring us not to watch.</p>
  129. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  130. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  131. ]]></content:encoded>
  132. <wfw:commentRss>http://dreambeast.net/2011/11/ridin-through-this-world/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  133. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  134. </item>
  135. <item>
  136. <title>Math Camp Massacre</title>
  137. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2011/03/math-camp-massacre/</link>
  138. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2011/03/math-camp-massacre/#comments</comments>
  139. <pubDate>Sun, 06 Mar 2011 18:18:53 +0000</pubDate>
  140. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  141. <category><![CDATA[Video]]></category>
  142. <category><![CDATA[Humor]]></category>
  143. <category><![CDATA[Scrabble]]></category>
  144. <category><![CDATA[video]]></category>
  145.  
  146. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=159</guid>
  147. <description><![CDATA[I love JibJab personalized videos. Their dark, warped humor is so much like mine own. This particular JibJab project has been roiling in my sick little brain for a while, and finally it has reached fruition here.  I apologize profusely to my friends in the Charleston Scrabble Club &#8211; to those who were not cast in Math Camp [&#8230;]]]></description>
  148. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><p>I love JibJab personalized videos. Their dark, warped humor is so much like mine own. This particular JibJab project has been roiling in my sick little brain for a while, and finally it has reached fruition here.  I apologize profusely to my friends in the Charleston Scrabble Club &#8211; to those who were not cast in <em>Math Camp Massacre</em>, and even more to those who were. </p>
  149. <p>Passing by my computer as I worked on a face, Joe asked, &#8220;Is that Ben Affleck?&#8221; Guess which of the guys he was referring to.</p>
  150. <p><object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="425" height="344" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/wo-e0qI5pz8?hl=en&amp;fs=1" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/wo-e0qI5pz8?hl=en&amp;fs=1" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed></object></p>
  151. <p>By the way, <em>Math Camp Masscre</em> is unlisted on You Tube. It&#8217;s available only through this link.</p>
  152. ]]></content:encoded>
  153. <wfw:commentRss>http://dreambeast.net/2011/03/math-camp-massacre/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  154. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  155. </item>
  156. <item>
  157. <title>Sons of Anarchy</title>
  158. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2011/02/sons-of-anarchy/</link>
  159. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2011/02/sons-of-anarchy/#comments</comments>
  160. <pubDate>Sun, 20 Feb 2011 03:53:55 +0000</pubDate>
  161. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  162. <category><![CDATA[Sons of Anarchy]]></category>
  163. <category><![CDATA[FX]]></category>
  164.  
  165. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=121</guid>
  166. <description><![CDATA[The Sons of Anarchy are a fictional biker gang who make their living as gunrunners. They buy weapons from the IRA and sell them to other gangs, who seem to go through them the way a whore goes through condoms. The Sons style themselves as a motorcycle club and have a clubhouse at the Teller-Morrow automotive [&#8230;]]]></description>
  167. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><p>The Sons of Anarchy are a fictional biker gang who make their living as gunrunners. They buy weapons from the IRA and sell them to other gangs, who seem to go through them the way a whore goes through condoms. The Sons style themselves as a motorcycle club and have a clubhouse at the Teller-Morrow automotive repair shop in the bucolic town of Charming, California. They even have their own acronym, SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original), pronounced Sam Crow. The townsfolk call them Sam Crow as if they were one individual, which is about right. Like any gang, they’re a tight-knit group with one set of rules among themselves and another set for the outside world.</p>
  168. <div class="wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 100px">
  169. <a href="http://www.fanpop.com/spots/sons-of-anarchy/links/10771457" target="_blank"><img style="border: 0px;" src="http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/10700000/Gemma-Clay-sons-of-anarchy-10771457-100-100.jpg" border="0" alt="Gemma &amp; Clay" width="100" height="100" /></a>
  170. <p class="wp-caption-text">Gemma and Clay</p>
  171. </div>
  172. <p>Though occasionally a force for good, the Sons are psychopathic ruffians. Hardly an episode goes by without them gunning half a dozen people down. If they walked into the bar where I was sipping my non-alcoholic beer, I’d head for the nearest exit. But not too quickly. I wouldn’t want them to notice me. Yet I can’t seem to get enough of them on screen. I’ve watched every episode of all three seasons at least twice. And I’m hardly alone. The FX series has millions of fans. No doubt it drew thousands of <em>Sopranos</em> fans who had nothing to watch after that series ended.</p>
  173. <div class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 240px">
  174. <a href="http://www.fanpop.com/spots/sons-of-anarchy/links/10811486" target="_blank"><img class=" " style="border: 0px;" src="http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/10800000/Sons-Of-Anarchy-sons-of-anarchy-10811486-500-333.jpg" border="0" alt="Sons Of Anarchy" width="240" height="160" /></a>
  175. <p class="wp-caption-text">Sons of Anarchy</p>
  176. </div>
  177. <p>As with <em>The Sopranos</em>, the story centers on a family melodrama. Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman), club president, is one of nine founding members of the Sons. Another is John Teller, who died years ago in shadowy circumstances. There are hints that Clay and John’s wife Gemma (Katey Sagal) – now married to Clay – might have been involved in the death. John and Gemma had a son, Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam). Now an adult, Jax finds himself torn between his father’s idealism, as revealed in the journal he left, and the hard pragmatism and ambition of Clay and Gemma. His ambivalence about the club’s criminal enterprises drives much of the conflict within the family. There are echoes of Hamlet, with Jax as the brooding son and Clay as the uncle who has taken his dead brother’s wife. Gemma, however, is no foolish Queen Gertrude. She’s more like Lady Macbeth without the guilt.</p>
  178. <p>Though some argue <em>The Sopranos</em> is superior, I’m more attached to the characters in <em>Sons of Anarchy</em>. Jax is a hunk. A more macho version of Brad Pitt, Hunnam frequently displays his lean, muscular, elaborately tattooed body in the shower and in bed. He talks in a flat, kind of dumb voice and walks with the shuffling swagger of a juvenile delinquent. Somewhere inside me, a sixteen-year-old self is altogether smitten. “He’s so tortured,” the sixteen-year-old sighs. “He’s good at heart, I just know.” I overlook his participation in the torture of a disgraced Son who makes the mistake of flashing his ink in public. Since he failed to black out his tattoo of the gang’s emblem, the Sons remove it for him. They give him a choice: knife or fire. Jax stands hard-faced with the rest of them as the poor fellow’s back is drenched with whiskey then set afire with an acetylene torch. What else could Jax do? Hey, rules are rules.</p>
  179. <div class="wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 210px">
  180. <a href="http://www.fanpop.com/spots/sons-of-anarchy/links/10783309" target="_blank"><img style="border: 0px;" src="http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/10700000/Jax-Teller-sons-of-anarchy-10783309-300-385.jpg" border="0" alt="Jax Teller" width="210" height="270" /></a>
  181. <p class="wp-caption-text">Jax</p>
  182. </div>
  183. <p>Clay Morrow, the grizzled club president, coldly orders the death of Opie, a brother he believes has turned rat. Opie has been set up by villainous ATF agent June Stahl, but Clay doesn’t know that. When Opie’s wife is killed by mistake, Clay feels – kinda bad, but not bad enough to fess up. The truth would destroy the club. Despite his ruthlessness, Clay loves his brothers and wife fiercely. Though he has plenty of opportunities to fuck other women, he’s rarely unfaithful to Gemma. And he would die, if necessary, defending his brothers. Clay is getting old. The arthritis in his hands makes it more and more difficult for him to ride. When the time comes that he cannot, he’ll no longer be able to lead the Sons. In one episode, Jax must bind his hands to the handle of his motorcycle.</p>
  184. <p>The other Sons – in fact all the show’s characters – are given enough to complexity to make them real. Bobby earns extra cashes for alimony payments by performing as an Elvis impersonator. It’s hard to reconcile the overweight, sequined guy on stage with the hitman who guns down a venal government official. Tigs, the Son who kills Opie’s wife by mistake, is eager to pull the trigger but tortured by guilt afterward. He’s also a repulsive creep who likes to copulate with corpses. Chibs burns for vengeance against the psycho IRA guy who sliced his face from ear to ear and stole his wife and daughter. Wayne Unser, Charming’s chief of police, has been in bed with SAMCRO for decades and at times almost seems like a member of the club. I suspect he’s in love with Gemma. When she’s framed for murder and on the run, he aids her without a moment’s hesitation.</p>
  185. <p>The women on <em>Sons of Anarchy</em> deserve a post to themselves. As do the arch villains who plot the Sons’ destruction. But for now I think I’ll leave off writing about the Sons and watch the first episode of season two again. I’m pretty sure that one shows Jax without his shirt on.</p>
  186. <p>Photos from FanPop</p>
  187. ]]></content:encoded>
  188. <wfw:commentRss>http://dreambeast.net/2011/02/sons-of-anarchy/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  189. <slash:comments>1</slash:comments>
  190. </item>
  191. <item>
  192. <title>Mother Theresa Never Went Shopping</title>
  193. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2011/02/mother-theresa-never-went-shopping/</link>
  194. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2011/02/mother-theresa-never-went-shopping/#comments</comments>
  195. <pubDate>Sat, 05 Feb 2011 17:53:48 +0000</pubDate>
  196. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  197. <category><![CDATA[Shopping]]></category>
  198.  
  199. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=112</guid>
  200. <description><![CDATA[Joe and I were driving home from St. Louis after a satisfying Sunday afternoon shopping. Satisfying for me, anyway. I’d bought a Dooney &#38; Burke handbag in bone all-weather leather with British tan leather trim. It was the nicest and most expensive bag I’d ever owned, and it hadn’t even been on sale! The thought [&#8230;]]]></description>
  201. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><div id="attachment_113" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 240px">
  202. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Fotolia_4365605_XS.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-113 " title="Shopping buttons" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Fotolia_4365605_XS-300x221.jpg" alt="" width="240" height="177" /></a>
  203. <p class="wp-caption-text">S is for Shopping</p>
  204. </div>
  205. <p>Joe and I were driving home from St. Louis after a satisfying Sunday afternoon shopping. Satisfying for me, anyway. I’d bought a Dooney &amp; Burke handbag in bone all-weather leather with British tan leather trim. It was the nicest and most expensive bag I’d ever owned, and it hadn’t even been on sale! The thought of wearing it filled me with gladness. Joe had the radio tuned to one of those earnest NPR programs about suffering and injustice in the world. I listened to a story about brick-makers in Indian, a family indentured and forced to labor morning to night, their lungs slowly destroyed by dust in the quarry where they worked. They had no hope. They would never have the two hundred dollars to pay off their debt. Less money than I’d paid for my Dooney &amp; Burke bag.</p>
  206. <p>At that moment I understood recreational shopping is essentially a sociopathic activity. One spends money that might be put to better use, buying unnecessary items, the making of which consumes natural resources and degrades the environment. Hell, our collective consumption is despoiling the world. It has been years since that St. Louis shopping trip. I wish I could say my little epiphany transformed me into a more charitable, ethical, spiritual human being. But it hasn’t. I shop for clothes, shoes, cosmetics, books, DVD’s, and electronics I don’t really need. The thing is they make me happy, if only for a while.</p>
  207. <p>I love to shop online. An almost infinite assortment of consumer goods flashes across the computer screen – mine with a few keystrokes, the click of a mouse. So effortless. The stuff almost seems free until the email comes announcing my credit card statement is ready to be viewed. And paid. I don’t buy more than we can afford, yet I buy things that are frivolous and occasionally useless, things I regret. Right now a pair of XCVI parachute pants is hanging in my closet, tags still attached. They’re slate green Tencel with brass snaps on the outside of the legs. I bought them on clearance, figuring I could wear them around the house, but they’re not quite comfortable enough. They fit perfectly and look great. They’re just not <em>me</em>.</p>
  208. <p>Since they aren’t returnable, I’ll most like auction them on e-Bay. Just like the cashmere cardigan with the floppy ruffles on the hem and sleeves, another regrettable purchase.</p>
  209. <p>More often, though, I like and use the stuff I buy. Some things get more than enough use to justify their cost. The Eileen Fisher wool pants that look great, go with anything and feel more comfortable than any jeans. The Stuart Weitzman black Gore-Tex ankle boots with leather trim and decorative silver buckles that nonetheless can be opened – the most stylish rain boots I’ve ever found. I could go on, but the list would grow boring except to other clothes hounds.</p>
  210. <p>Then there are electronics – computers, printers, cameras, Palm pilots, portable hard drives, software, etc. And sweetest of all, my iPad. Bought not online but from an Apple store in Los Angeles. I went there with my sister, who was getting her Mac notebook repaired. While she was busy at the service desk, I strolled idly to the table where the iPads were displayed and picked one up. After a few minutes of stroking the responsive touch screen, I needed one. Not wanted. Needed. Desperately. Now. I use the iPad every day and bring it to bed every night. I don’t actually sleep with it – Joe wouldn’t stand for that – but it lies on the nightstand beside me.</p>
  211. <p>Shopping doesn’t bring true happiness. It’s a drug to make me feel better when I’m bored, restless, depressed, or manic. It’s environmentally irresponsible. I should feel guiltier about it than I do. As death nears, I’ll understand only too well that material possessions mean nothing. Meanwhile, though, I’m alive. And Bluefly is having a sale.</p>
  212. ]]></content:encoded>
  213. <wfw:commentRss>http://dreambeast.net/2011/02/mother-theresa-never-went-shopping/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  214. <slash:comments>4</slash:comments>
  215. </item>
  216. <item>
  217. <title>Tucker</title>
  218. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/tucker/</link>
  219. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/tucker/#comments</comments>
  220. <pubDate>Sat, 29 Jan 2011 00:16:36 +0000</pubDate>
  221. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  222. <category><![CDATA[Pets]]></category>
  223. <category><![CDATA[Tucker]]></category>
  224. <category><![CDATA[Uncategorized]]></category>
  225.  
  226. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=103</guid>
  227. <description><![CDATA[My horse Tucker sighs. Not at random moments, either, but in situations where a sigh would be appropriate – when I keep him waiting too long while I chat with someone, or we enter the arena and he knows there’s work to be done. Soon after he came to me, I was watching him in [&#8230;]]]></description>
  228. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><p>My horse Tucker sighs. Not at random moments, either, but in situations where a sigh would be appropriate – when I keep him waiting too long while I chat with someone, or we enter the arena and he knows there’s work to be done.</p>
  229. <p>Soon after he came to me, I was watching him in the paddock with a couple of other horses. He barged over to the water trough, forcing another horse away. “Tucker!” I yelled. “That’s so rude!” He looked straight at me then turned and walked away from the trough. Then – I swear – he heaved a great sigh. He couldn’t have stated more clearly that I was being stupid but he would nonetheless humor me.</p>
  230. <p>Tucker is something of an escape artist. At Ottertail Farm, his nickname was Houdini. He can reach his head over a stall door, unlatch it with his mouth, and push it open. Nobody has seen him perform this trick. They just find the door open and Tucker outside grazing. Once, at Traumerei Farm, the owner found him and two other horses loose – the two horses that just happened to be his pasture mates. The others were still locked in.</p>
  231. <div id="attachment_104" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 189px">
  232. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Tucker-East-from-my-Hand.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-104 " title="Tucker Eats from my Hand" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Tucker-East-from-my-Hand-236x300.jpg" alt="No Problem Keeping Weight on this Horse!" width="189" height="240" /></a>
  233. <p class="wp-caption-text">Tucker Enjoying a Treat</p>
  234. </div>
  235. <p>He can be quite a show-off in the right circumstances. Point a camera at another horse and Tucker will prance along the fence calling attention to himself. He knows he’s a star! I showed him for the first time on one of those Midwestern summer days when the air feels like hot soup, but he behaved beautifully – until I screwed up a test so thoroughly the judge blew her whistle and ended it. For the rest of the afternoon, my sweet horse became an angry beast, bucking and trying to bolt, as though punishing me for the humiliation. The second time I showed him, we placed first in two tests and third in another. The judge wrote, “You’re lucky to have such a kind horse who tries so hard for you.”</p>
  236. <p>I am lucky to have Tucker. I was going to ride him at a clinic today, but he had trouble with his left rear leg. I doubt it’s serious. He’s most likely sore from standing for the farrier on Wednesday. At seventeen year old, he has a few health issues. Arthritis, for one. Of course I’ll go on loving and caring for him if he becomes too lame to ride, but hopefully it won’t happen for a long time. Like many human beings, Tucker needs his work.</p>
  237. ]]></content:encoded>
  238. <wfw:commentRss>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/tucker/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  239. <slash:comments>1</slash:comments>
  240. </item>
  241. <item>
  242. <title>Fairies Destroy the World</title>
  243. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/fairies-destroy-the-world/</link>
  244. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/fairies-destroy-the-world/#comments</comments>
  245. <pubDate>Fri, 21 Jan 2011 17:53:21 +0000</pubDate>
  246. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  247. <category><![CDATA[Book Reviews]]></category>
  248. <category><![CDATA[Fantasy]]></category>
  249. <category><![CDATA[Fever Series]]></category>
  250. <category><![CDATA[fantasy]]></category>
  251. <category><![CDATA[novels]]></category>
  252. <category><![CDATA[reading]]></category>
  253.  
  254. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=94</guid>
  255. <description><![CDATA[I spent all day Wednesday reading a paranormal romance called Shadowfever, the last in a series of five novels by Karen Marie Moning. The thing is over 600 pages long. I’m starting to think readers perceive length differently with an ebook. They don’t feel the volume weighting their hands or the thickness of the pages [&#8230;]]]></description>
  256. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><div id="attachment_96" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 150px">
  257. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/51IYcsOMZOL__SS500_.jpg"><img class="size-thumbnail wp-image-96" title="51IYcsOMZOL__SS500_" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/51IYcsOMZOL__SS500_-150x150.jpg" alt="" width="150" height="150" /></a>
  258. <p class="wp-caption-text">Cover Image from Amazon.com</p>
  259. </div>
  260. <p>I spent all day Wednesday reading a paranormal romance called<em> Shadowfever</em>, the last in a series of five novels by Karen Marie Moning. The thing is over 600 pages long. I’m starting to think readers perceive length differently with an ebook. They don’t feel the volume weighting their hands or the thickness of the pages yet to be turned. They see a number giving the percentage of the book they’ve read so far, but it lacks physical reality. Easy to glide through a novel as though sailing over a vast lake, glimpsing land on the horizon without a sense of its distance. I read and read for hours and hours and awoke the next morning with a migraine. Now that I’ve finished the story and know the outcome, now that the headache is fading, I can’t help reflecting on why I subjected myself to such a grueling read-a-thon and wondering if the experience was worth it.</p>
  261. <p>The Shadow series tells the story of MacKayla Lane, a girl from a small town in Georgia whose sister is brutally murdered while studying in Ireland. Mac spends her time painting her nails, hanging out by the pool, and listening to tunes on her iPod. Then the death of her sister spurs her to travel to Dublin and ensure the killer is caught and brought to justice. There she discovers she’s a <em>sidhe</em>-seer, one of an ancient order of women who can see the Fae. To ordinary people the Fae appear human, but Mac sees the monsters hidden beneath their glamour. She becomes involved with a sinister and sexually magnetic man who, it becomes increasingly clear, isn’t human either, searching for a mystical book that will prevent the Fae from destroying the world.</p>
  262. <p>Mac makes one unsettling discovery after another about her sister and herself. Illusion, misdirection, and deception pervade the five novels. Repeatedly, she believes she understands what’s going on, only to have her reality shattered by some new revelation. What begins as a search for her sister’s murderer grows into a struggle to save the world and a quest to discover the truth about her origins.</p>
  263. <p>Moning is skilled at springing surprises and ratcheting up suspense. The first four novels end in cliffhangers that compel the reader to reach for the next in the series. Here I should mention that the first one was a free Kindle download. Amazon does that – baits the hook with a freebie. It sure worked with me. Though Mac is occasionally annoying, her character grows more complex and interesting from one book to the next. The fantastic worlds she explores are richly imagined.</p>
  264. <p>The books have some great sex scenes – passionate and occasionally funny, and on one occasion harrowing as Mac is gang raped by Fae princes and left in a state of mindless, constant, sexual hunger. And, of course, there’s plenty of violence.</p>
  265. <p>These attractions are counter balanced by writing that occasionally makes me wince. Grating, clichéd phrases (“to die for,” “getting on my last nerve”). Commentary or exposition that repeats almost word-for-word passages from earlier in the story, as if the writer had copied and pasted material. Some of this is okay in first-person narration; people do use clichés and repeat themselves. Still, I’ve seen more artful techniques for creating a convincing narrative voice. Then there are the overused dialogue tags. Even the inhuman characters do a whole lot of sighing and shrugging.</p>
  266. <p>I finished <em>Shadowfever</em> feeling sated and unnourished, as though I’d snarfed a whole box of delicious chocolates. Instead of a bellyache, I had a headache from those frozen hours staring at the Kindle screen. Yet I’m not sorry. I’ve been gorging on novels since childhood, and without that pleasure I would never have come to love reading fiction. No way am I going on a diet now.</p>
  267. ]]></content:encoded>
  268. <wfw:commentRss>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/fairies-destroy-the-world/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  269. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  270. </item>
  271. <item>
  272. <title>Blue Thunder</title>
  273. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/blue-thunder/</link>
  274. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/blue-thunder/#comments</comments>
  275. <pubDate>Sat, 15 Jan 2011 01:19:15 +0000</pubDate>
  276. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  277. <category><![CDATA[Benji]]></category>
  278. <category><![CDATA[Parakeets]]></category>
  279. <category><![CDATA[Pets]]></category>
  280. <category><![CDATA[avian intelligence]]></category>
  281. <category><![CDATA[English Budgerigars]]></category>
  282. <category><![CDATA[parakeets]]></category>
  283. <category><![CDATA[pets]]></category>
  284.  
  285. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=86</guid>
  286. <description><![CDATA[Benji and I met at a party given by the fiancée of Joe’s department chairman. I knew only a few people there and soon retreated to a chair beside a bird cage. A parakeet came over, jumped onto the bars and hung by his claws, showing his wide blue belly and snowy vent. He was [&#8230;]]]></description>
  287. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><p>Benji and I met at a party given by the fiancée of Joe’s department chairman. I knew only a few people there and soon retreated to a chair beside a bird cage. A parakeet came over, jumped onto the bars and hung by his claws, showing his wide blue belly and snowy vent. He was bigger than average. Later I found out he was half English budgerigar, a larger breed than the American parakeets usually found in pet stores. I moved my face closer and said, “Hey, little guy, you’re a cutie.” I whistled and clicked my tongue. He chirped enthusiastically.</p>
  288. <p>I spent more time with Benji than with any of the party guests. At the end of the evening the hostess offered to give him to me, cage and all. Her soon-to-be husband disliked birds and joked that she might come home one day and find him hanged in his cage, with a little sign around his neck reading <em>Goodbye, Cruel World</em>. Though we’d just met, Benji’s owner trusted me to give him a good home. I did my best to deserve her trust for the nine years he was with me.</p>
  289. <div id="attachment_87" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 199px">
  290. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Me-and-Benji.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-87" title="Me and Benji" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Me-and-Benji-199x300.jpg" alt="Kiss, kiss." width="199" height="300" /></a>
  291. <p class="wp-caption-text">Benji and Me</p>
  292. </div>
  293. <p>His vocabulary included such staples as “Benji is a pretty bird” and “Hey baby, you’re cute.” He might have learned more if I’d had the patience to teach him. But I would have loved him whether he talked or not. Gentle and affectionate, he liked perching on my shoulder and nibbling my ear as I read or watched TV. He soon began joining me at meals where – to Joe’s disgust – he perched on the rim of my plate and nibbled my food. He especially liked spaghetti in tomato sauce.</p>
  294. <p>Benji was a less than athletic bird. When I set him on a parakeet swing, he hunkered down and gripped the bar like an acrophobic old gent trapped on a rollercoaster. He struggled to fly, working his wings frantically to keep his chubby body aloft and occasionally bumping into a wall and fluttering to the floor. He never got up enough momentum to hurt himself in these collisions, but I couldn’t help being scared every time he went down. Joe dubbed him Blue Thunder.</p>
  295. <p>Near the end of his life, Benji became too weak to fly. But he would flutter to the floor and walk through the house until he found me, and I would pick him up and hold him, and pretty soon he would fall asleep.</p>
  296. <p>He never forgot his first owner. He chirped with excitement when she and her husband came for dinner. After we finished dessert, I brought Benji to the table and gushed about how much I loved having him around. He chattered and preened, basking in the attention. His first owner’s husband remarked grudgingly that he was kind of cute. Benji flew from my hand and landed on the head of the man who’d threatened to hang him. Squatting and wiggling his tail, he squeezed out a tiny drop of bird dung. Then, having vented his feelings, he flew to his cage on thunderous wings.</p>
  297. <p>Call it coincidence if you want. I think it was payback time.</p>
  298. ]]></content:encoded>
  299. <wfw:commentRss>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/blue-thunder/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  300. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  301. </item>
  302. <item>
  303. <title>Pilates and Me</title>
  304. <link>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/pilates-and-me/</link>
  305. <comments>http://dreambeast.net/2011/01/pilates-and-me/#comments</comments>
  306. <pubDate>Thu, 06 Jan 2011 20:29:06 +0000</pubDate>
  307. <dc:creator><![CDATA[admin]]></dc:creator>
  308. <category><![CDATA[Uncategorized]]></category>
  309.  
  310. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://dreambeast.net/?p=59</guid>
  311. <description><![CDATA[  Joseph Pilates Joseph Pilates was a sickly kid who overcompensated by remaking himself into a superb athlete. He began developing his system of mind-body exercises while interned by the British as a German national during World War I and later gained renown as a teacher and trainer. He was apparently a hard-assed teacher, and [&#8230;]]]></description>
  312. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p></p><div><span style="font-family: Calibri; color: #000000;"> </span>
  313. <dl id="attachment_2668" class="wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 210px;">
  314. <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href="http://theliquidbetsy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/joseph_pilates-bw.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-2668 " title="joseph_pilates-bw" src="http://theliquidbetsy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/joseph_pilates-bw.jpg" alt="Portrait Seen Widely Online" width="200" height="262" /></a></dt>
  315. <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Joseph Pilates</dd>
  316. </dl>
  317. </div>
  318. <div>
  319. <p>Joseph Pilates was a sickly kid who overcompensated by remaking himself into a superb athlete. He began developing his system of mind-body exercises while interned by the British as a German national during World War I and later gained renown as a teacher and trainer. He was apparently a hard-assed teacher, and his sytem was for the elite athletes and dancers who came to his New York City studio. Now Pilates – at least in some form – is accessible to just about anyone.  </p>
  320. <p>I’ve done Pilates five times a week for about nine years. The workouts have improved my flexibility and balance, strengthened my core, and reshaped my body. My waist is two inches smaller than when I started, and my calves are almost an inch smaller. I’ve lost about ten pounds. Since the closest certified teacher is fifty miles away and charges big bucks, my instruction so far has come entirely from DVDs. All of them include some explanation of the principles of Pilates, and most offer modified (easier) forms of the more difficult exercises.   </p>
  321. <p>The first DVD I bought was <em>Pilates for Weight Loss</em> with Ana Caban. A lucky choice since it has lots of explanation and a separate routine for beginners. Though I gave that DVD to a friend, I now have several others featuring Ana. I like her friendly approach and easy pace. Produced by Gaiam, a “lifestyle” company, her DVDs have a New Age flavor that’s restful and only occasionally annoying. Sometimes I get a little tired of the sitar music.   </p>
  322. <p>After taking up riding lessons, I wanted to improve my balance, so I invested in one of those big inflated balls and bought <em>The Method: Target Specifics Stability Ball</em>. The cover of this DVD is discouraging. A lanky blond without an ounce of excess body fat perches on her ball, hands on hips, flashing a grin that says, “Do this routine a thousand times; you still won’t look as good as me.” Katalin Zamiar, who leads the routine, is even more daunting. We’re told she “holds three black belts and 21 years experience in the martial arts and boxing.” Judging by her looks, she must have thrown her first Karate kick when she was three years old. The challenging 50-minute routine has nonetheless become one of my favorites. It’s divided into four separate workouts targeting different parts of the body, so I can omit one or two when I’m short on time. Katalin sets an earnest, businesslike tone. </p>
  323. <p>My least favorite DVD, <em>CorePlus Reformer Workout</em>, also by Gaiam, features Mari Winsor leading three women through a series of exercises employing elasticized cords (a stand-in for the Pilates reformer, which costs several hundred dollars). One of the women, a beginner performing the modified exercises, is maybe fifteen pounds overweight. Mari patronizes her relentlessly. “Yes, I see those muscles working!” she chirps brightly. I feel like strangling her with the CorePlus Reformer.</p>
  324. <div id="attachment_76" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 224px">
  325. <a href="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/100_02781.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-76" title="Me Doing Pilates" src="http://dreambeast.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/100_02781-224x300.jpg" alt="I'm working with a Pilates ring." width="224" height="300" /></a>
  326. <p class="wp-caption-text">Me Soon After I Started Pilates</p>
  327. </div>
  328. <p>The most impressive instructor in my collection is Moira Merrithew. A formal dancer and founder of <a class="wp-oembed" href="http://www.stottpilates.com/aboutus/founders.html" target="_blank">Stott Pilates</a>, Moira has obviously had lots of training and experience. Her approach is so quiet I don’t realize at first how hard she’s making me work. I get sleepy performing the stretches at the beginning of <em>Strong and Streamlined</em>, but near the end I find myself precariously balanced on one hand and one foot, my body twisted like a pretzel. I also have Moira’s <em>Superior Balance</em> stability ball DVD, perfect for when I need to be reminded there are things my body cannot do.</p>
  329. <p>One DVD really, really scares me. Its official title is <em>Classical Pilates Technique</em>, but my husband calls it Prison Pilates because the exercises are performed in a bare room rather than on a beach or beside a sparkling mountain lake. There’s no music, no soothing narrator offering encouragement or explaining how the exercises should be done. They’re demonstrated by a guy who moves through the routine as ruthlessly as a drill sergeant. Prison Pilates is not for pansies. It might be the one DVD in my collection Joseph Pilates would have approved of, but an exercise routine isn’t much good if you would rather chew on tinfoil than do it.</p>
  330. <div class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 320px">
  331. <a href="http://theliquidbetsy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/joseph_pilates_reformer.jpg"><img title="joseph_pilates_reformer" src="http://theliquidbetsy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/joseph_pilates_reformer.jpg" alt="" width="320" height="230" /></a>
  332. <p class="wp-caption-text">He Makes It Look So Easy</p>
  333. </div>
  334. <p> The biographic info on Joseph Pilates comes from <a href="http://pilates.about.com/od/historyofpilates/a/JPilates.htm" target="_blank">About.com</a>.</p>
  335. </div>
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  338. <slash:comments>1</slash:comments>
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