DEAR STRANGER EDITOR: I read with interest Seth Kolloen's article about the Bikram yoga regional championship competition ["Bikram Bloodbath," Dec 7]. Having been obsessed with Bikram's version of hot yoga for the last 10 months, I can comment that the article is generally accurate about the nature of a typical Bikram yoga class. Yes, it's hot. And yes, it's not for the faint of heart or wimps. A friend of mine calls it true "punk-rock yoga"—because it's so hardcore.
I have to point out that Kolloen's article misses one of the main issues about this yoga competition. There is no mention in the article about the fact that more mainstream yogis and yoginis tend to resent this effort to make their more "warm and fuzzy" yoga into a tough, competitive sport, let alone an Olympic one.
I must also question why there was no mention of the fact that males were competing. The impression conveyed is that this competition is exclusively for females. I must also comment on the manner in which Kolloen ends his article. Somehow, he concludes that to win at this kind of yoga, one must cultivate a state of what he calls "not wanting." After quoting Jen Perry as saying, "Doing my routine was easier because I didn't care," he then concludes, "It's impossible to predict who will win [the international championship], but undoubtedly, it will come down to whoever wants it less." I think this conclusion is obviously flawed.
I think, as an aspiring champion, Jen wants it. And I think she does care. To devote four years of one's life requires one to care a lot. I know Jen and she has said as much to me. Luis Rojas (the male first-place champion) also commented to me, "To be a champion, you have to want it."
Daniel GarberDEADLY FUNGI
CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE: Dude. Beautiful and particularly poetic article ["Astoria Death Trip," Dec 14]. But as an amateur mycologist, I have to say one thing: YOU FREAKING IDIOT! You trusted a community-college dropout you've never met to make judgments that could affect the rest of your life? For a five-hour trip? But even more irresponsibly, you described psilocybes just enough to make some readers think they too could go mushroom hunting. Mushrooms containing psilocin and psilocybin are poisonous—it's the poison that makes you trip. The difference between the kind of poison that makes you trip and the kind of poison that makes you die cannot be ascertained by someone without a deep knowledge of mycology and extensive field experience.
If you're fascinated by the idea of mushroom hunting, join the local mycological society and go on a few innocent field trips. Absorb a general knowledge about the identifying characteristics of mushrooms. To get into hallucinogens, type "psilocybin mushrooms" into Amazon.com, buy a couple of guidebooks, read them, and study the pictures. Learn enough to realize how much you DON'T know.
When it comes to mushrooms, ignorance is not bliss. Unless you want your parents to have to explain what a dumbass you were to die the way you did.
Meg FonashHOT MEAT
DEAR STRANGER: My holidays were brighter thanks to the hottie on your December 14 issue! Wow. But alas, searching the issue for info about him, even just a first name, was for naught... Who is this holiday angel in undies you've put before us?
KELLY O SAYS: That's Ryan Downey, who's represented by Seattle Models Guild.