Monday, January 31, 2011

Where we will be @ Disney!

Since I've been asked by friends and family asking when I will be where, here's teh ONLY things that are scheduled. the rest will be on the fly

Feb. 3 - Ariel's Grotto @ 11:40 (closest to "lunch time" as I could get)

Feb. 4 - Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Crown Package @ 9:30am
- Birthday Party w/ Pat E. Cake, Plaza Inn @4:15

Feb. 5 - Storyteller's Cafe w/ Chip and Dale & Friends - 9am

Feb. 7 - Goofy's Kitchen @ 6pm

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Twenty-eight

Day 28: Favorite & Least Favorite Costume

Gonna do one for each disipline, because I can.
Favorite Ladies: Katia's Mahler Costume, 1996

Least Favorite: Oksana Baiul's Hit Me Baby One More Time

Favorite Mens: Kurt Browning Funky Music
Least Favorite: Evgeny Plushenko Sex Bomb
Favorite Pairs: Jaime Sale & David Pelletier's Jalousie
Least Favorite: Yuko Kawaguchi & Alexander Smirnov... um yeah

Favorite: Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto Yankee Polka

Least Favorite: Oksana Domina & Max Shabalin Aboriginal Folk Dance

Sunday, January 30, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Twenty-Seven

Day 27: Favorite figure skating moment of all time

Well considering today was an amazing day for US men's figure skating I'm riding on such a high that I have to say today was the best moment. For two reasons.

First off, Ryan Bradley winning the National title. It wasn't his best performance, but he never gave up. The fact that he skated lights out for the short program and then came back after wonky quads in the long really showed that he wanted this like no other championship. Let me preface by saying I was not a Ryan Bradley fan when it was cool to be one. I remember hearing all the girls our age gush about how cute he was and how awesome his skating was back in 2000/01. I didn't get it. He was a nice looking face but that was it to me.

Then he found his niche as a performer and suddenly I was taking an interest. Seeing him at nationals in 2006 sealed the deal. I became one of his fangirls from that moment on (it didn't hurt when I met him with a friend that it was more like just a few young people hanging out and not fangirls meeting their dreamboat ha ha!). Fast forward to tonight when Bradley won after wanting to quit after last season and I was a ball of emotion. Nervous, heart broken when he fell, and elated when he still managed to win. No one deserves it more. It was a bittersweet Galindo moment, but one that still deserves its place in hearts and memories. The bashing has already started elsewhere, but for me - yes a fan girl- I can honestly say I couldn't be more proud. I want to thank Ryan from the bottom of my heart for not giving into the naysayers, and for giving us this moment. Is it too early to beg for a repeat next season?

My second favorite moment also comes from this night of skating. Keegan Messing not only made the final flight of skaters, but he had a fantastic nationals from start to finish. I got really choked up for some reason as I listened to Scott Hamilton commentate his long program. Keegan reminds me a lot of Scotty in skating style (maybe it's the shortness thing) and Scott's energy in the mic translated to what we were seeing on the ice. I've watched Keegan and known he was special since 2004. He was just a little guy, then, but he loved to entertain and he was quick... and light on his feet and in the air. He started making waves at nationals that year, and has been climbing steadily up the ranks ever since. I have high hopes from our Alaskan skater, and want so badly for him to have his own Ryan Bradley moment (or better yet, lets have him be the next Scott. 4 time world champ, olympic champ, and biggest male skating personality in the US).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Twenty-Six

Day 26: Saddest Day in Figure Skating

I could go with a number of answers. 1961 plane crash, death of Sergei Grinkov, death of Carlo Fassi, death of countless skaters before their time... but I'm not going to, because a lot of thsoe happened before I was old enough to really understand what was going on - or in the case of 1961 well before my time.

No, the saddest day for me was when Scott Hamilton "retired" from touring. I had an incling the year prior when he skated the group number in SOI entitled Old Friends which was a medly of Simon and Garfunkel hits. Scott's part was looking back on all the good times and all of the fun... I remember turning to my dad and freaking out saying "IS HE GOING TO RETIRE?" everyone said I was nuts.

The following year Scott announced that the new season was his final one touring with SOI. I was vindicated, but not happy. Scott Hamilton had been my hero, my idol, my favorite for so long and it was finally happening. He was finally leaving me. It was the end of an era and I was not happy to see it come.

I watched that show with a lot of emotion. When they got to the finale and he handed the reigns over to Kurt and Kristi and Tara, and they were all misty I lost it. I was home alone (well I was babysitting Duane who'd fallen asleep after Kurt's routine) and I didn't care. Tears rolled.

Scott's retirement also seemed to mark the end of the Golden Era of skating in North America. Many blame the new judging system or MK's disappearance from the international scene, but I think it was just time for that era to be finished. Scottie leaving just made the void bigger...

Friday, January 28, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Twenty-five

Day 25: The Quad. Give your opinion.

The quad is just another revolution in jumps already well established. I think it is a huge feat for any skater to land one consistently, more and more skaters try and fail... and it's been over 20 years since Kurt Browning landed the first ratified one, and thirty years since they were reportedly being attempted by some of the top names of the day.

I don't think it's the ugly stick of skating, I would agree that skaters obsess over it a bit too much, but that's only because I think fans and the media start the mania. There's a huge debate over whether or not you're not a man without one (so what does that make all of those men out there who aren't figure skaters? do they never get to even attempt manhood because they can't jump and spin four times in the air and land on a skinny little metal blade?).

I don't think it takes any more out of the program to set up the quad as it does for a triple axel or other triple jump. I've seen some skaters telegraph from one end of the rink to the other to hit a triple toe. Where as some quads seem to burst out of nowhere in comparison. I would argue that, without commentators saying "here comes the quad attempt" most fans wouldn't even know they were telegraphing for a quad.

So here's to the quad, just another exciting element to an already exciting sport!

California, here I am!

The trip yesterday was... taxing. I didn't sleep well - who really can on an Airplane? And Haille didn't want me to sleep at all so she kept jabbing me in my side when we were in the car being driving from the airport to Grass Valley. I ended up crashing in my cousin's bedroom for about four hours once everybody wound down. And after a good 9 hours of sleep last night I am feeling more human. Once I shower I should be ready to truly greet the day. I can't wait to start shooting photos around here. I haven't been to Grass Valley since 2006, and I'm here for almost a week so I'm going to make teh most of it. Thankfully Judy bought an external travel hard drive at Costco yesterday and so I will be able to keep all of my files safe as I have a feeling that I'm going to really put my camera to work on this trip.

Today is the final shopping day and wedding rehearsal before the big day tomorrow. My biggest complaint? I'm missing the Men's short programs at US nationals to eat pizza. Life's rough, eh?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Twenty-Four

Day 24: Skater that you love that nobody else does...

Well, I don't think that skater exists. Certainly someone else likes them! Though, until recently, I think Michael Weiss would definitely apply so I'll go with that. Michael got a bad rap on the boards during his competitive career for his machismo style of skating, his wife's choreography, his kids, just about anything he did was wrong. He was labelled homophobic by so many. It was frustrating. Proclaiming your fandom led to people telling you that you didn't know what skating was. It wasn't like he was the only skater I liked, but it was still considered a blemish on my card.

But it didn't matter, I loved watching Mike skate, and was able to see the flaws and get over them. After Mike left the competitve arena the labels jumped to Evan Lysacek. Oh, figure skating fans, we must have someone to hate on.

Now Mike has a bigger following as a professional figure skater. Some are so surprised of his talent and personality. Well, guys, it's always been there.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

30 Days of Skating: Day Twenty-Three

Day 23: Skater Everyone Loves But you Don't.

I'm doubling up as I leave tomorrow for California and I don't know if I will be able to keep up and when I get back I will be getting into Iditarod mode.

Without having to think about it: Michelle Kwan. I don't deny that she is good at what she does, but I don't get the emotional connection everyone else seems to have. I don't see her as an amazing artist. I see her like a lot of competitive skaters. She found her niche routine and she did a few tweaks each year with new music and there it is a new program. Like most say that Evan Lysacek has done (I agree, he has). It's a smart competitive strategy, find what wins and keep doing it.

Problem is if you don't like Kwan in North American circles you are blacklisted as a non fan of the sport or considered skating stupid. Neither of which I feel I fall under. I find her dull, frightfully so, I don't find personality with her. She comes off ditzy and a bit full of "The Kwan." No doubt a lot of her third person interviews were supposed to be "cute" and no doubt she'd been fed from the time she was born that she was God's gift to the World and that she came close to God in terms of awesomeness. Then she starts winning everything, becomes an overrated athlete, and uuuuuuuggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

Yuna Kim is quickly becoming another one of those, though at least in the US she seems more grounded... it's the fans that can become annoying after a time ha ha!

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Twenty-Two

Day 22: Favorite and Least Favorite Commentator

Dun dun dun. The moment of truth. Who is Toni going to pick. Will she side with the haters and hate on her beloved Scott Hamilton. Will she choose the godlike Dick Button, fearing his insane ramblings will forever haunt her if she doesn't? Will she plead temporary insanity and choose Sandra Besic who is scary beyond all reason?

Answer to all of those: no.

I'm going to cheat and break this down and choose four commentators. Favorite/Least Favorite EXPERT commentator (skater turned talking head) and Favorite/Least Favorite COLOR Commentator (professionally trained talking head).


Kurt Browning, Expert Commentator. He got canned by NBC in his first US showing because he dared to call a 14 year old Michelle Kwan sexy. Actually he was commenting on the program given to the 14 year old, but all NBC officials heard was the word sexy on the topic of a 14 year old girl. Bye, bye Canadian commentator. Fast forward to 2005/06, and ABC was looking for some new blood. Who knows why. I'm just glad they did. Kurt was the first commentator willing to go toe to toe with Dick Button without muddying the job. Dick is a bully, plain and simple, in the booth. I would scream at the TV each week as he belittled Peggy Fleming (who is a mouse when it comes ot Dick. Stand up to teh jerk, girl!) whenever she dared to have her own opinion and not his. When Kurt shared his opinion as to why a skater's program didn't work and Dick interrupted him Kurt politely reminded him that he was talking, and then finished his thought. Eat that Mr. Button.

Terry Gannon, Color Commentator. This was difficult, until recently I would have named Verne Lundquist as my favorite. He was the voice next to Scottie's for many years when CBS had an interest in the sport. Now he's back commentating for golf. Like Lundquist, Gannon takes his job seriously... and in doing so he's seemed to fall in love with teh sport of figure skating. When ABC dropped skating from their lineup, I was devastated. Not because it meant less coverage, but because no more Terry Gannon. I don't watch golf or basketball (his other sports) so I thought that was it for the yumminess that is Terry Gannon. Until this season when I was plesantly surprised to find he was commentating for Universal Sports (though now I don't get US thanks to my move. Depressing!). Hooray for sexy color commentators!

Least Favorite:

Dick Button, Expert commentator. Pretty sure you saw this one coming with my rant on him earlier. I don't find much to like about Dick. Yes, his knowledge of the sport is second to none. Yes, he has been commentating since the beginning. But that doesn't give him the right to belittle his co-commentators, or bully his opinion on the fans. And, now, anymore, he doesn't make any sense. Sometimes I wonder if he isn't all there. I much prefer when he's not in teh booth.

Al Trautwig & Tom Hammond, Color Commentator. Neither one gives a flying fart about skating. They sound bored when they talk, they make some pretty sly slurs about the men. They're a waste of space.

Monday, January 24, 2011

US Nationals: Who I'm Watching For...

I haven't done much talking on this season's skating. I've been hit with the Olympic slump, spending more time watching football and other things than I have with skating. But it's nationals week for the US, and that always gets me excited. Ever since attending my first nationals in 2005, this event has become my favorite. I'm hoping that this time next year I will be in San Jose with my friends catching all of the action.

So, which senior skaters have me excited for this week? Let's take a look.

Ryan Bradley, Men's. After a disappointing fourth place finish last year, Ryan was on the verge of quitting. Then he got all of us excited when he started tweeting this fall that he was back in action and nationals was on his mind. He's making a "comeback" and I'm really hoping that this is HIS year. Ryan Bradley National Champion, has been on teh lips of many since 2000 (or earlier!) and this would be the perfect season to prove us all right! He's skating to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy for his short, and he's reusing last year's Mozart LP.

Keegan Messing, Men's. He's our Alaskan boy! Second year senior, it's time to make his mark. He's had an up and down season so far, but nationals is where he normally puts it down. I've loved watching this kid grow up on the ice, and I'm proud that he represents Alaska in such a powerhouse type way. I wish Alaskans knew about one of our awesome up-and-comer athletes. Guess I'll just keep shouting his name from the rooftops! He's one of the top ten from last year, here's hoping he makes a larger leap this season!

Caitlyn Yankowskas & John Coughlin, Pairs. They've had a great opening season, and are ready to make that jump onto the top of the US podium. They're not completely polished, but they're getting there. I have really enjoyed their programs so far, and with over a month of training under their belt, I expect the programs to be refined. I don't think we have any US pairs that are going to wow the judges and make top five at worlds any time soon, but with Caitlyn & John - along with Caydee & Jeremy and Amanda & Mark - we are certainly on our way up.

Maia & Alex Shibutani, Ice Dance. Ice dance is the main reason I need to get back to US nationals, I just don't know enough about the up and comers. But I've been a fan of the Shibutanis since seeing them as Juniors in 2008. They were adorable then, and they are seamless now. Igor and Marina just keep producing the highest quality of Ice Dancers America has ever seen. The Shibs are where it's at!

Ashley Wagner, Ladies. Maybe I'm not *excited* but I'm still hoping for Ashley to pull one out of her hat and get on the top teir of the podium. Who doesn't want this girl to do well? She may not be Alissa Czisny on the ice as far as artistry goes, but she's a powerhouse with a restrained elegance about her. I'm all for her finally getting the gold... if she can nail it down. GO ASHLEY!

Mirai Nagasu, Ladies. I, sadly, do not believe Ashley has a real shot even if she does skate lights out of winning. Especially if Mirai has another nationals like last year (she should be National champion for that competition). Mirai is another skater I've enjoyed watching since 2008 (where she won her first national title). If the two go one and two in either order (deservingly) I will be a happy girl.

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Twenty-One

Day 21: Team Johnny or Team Evan?

Team Evan, all the way. It's been that ways since 2005 when I finally "got" what others saw in Evan. Sadly most of those people lost interest in Mr. tall dark and wonderful when he decided to take the clinical approach to skating. I think we can thank Mr. Carroll for that, all of his skaters become one hit wonders. All they do is change their costume and music and call it good. Apparently MK can mask that better than Evan can because fewer people gripe about her than they do him.

As for the battle between Johnny and Evan, I'm so over it. Fan wars didn't hit the level of Kwaniacs vs the rest of the ladies fans, but between the fans buying into it and the boys doing the same it's become tired. Just when you think they've grown up, the media asks a question and they fire off again and it's just embarassing for the both of them. I get that Johnny's the better skater, and possibly more popular internationally - kudos to him. I'm tired of the wanna be diva persona, and the "I'm going to say I don't care what you think, but then b*tch about how everyone in authority hates me, so I'll thumb my nose at them to see their reaction, but it's all because they hate me." GET OVER YOURSELF! And Evan just needs to learn to ignore the brat.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Twenty

Day 20: Favorite Olympic Moment

Paul Wylie, USA, 1992 Men's Free Skate. Here was a skater who had so much potential and he seemingly hadn't been able to live up to it. He was thinking too much and not giving his body a chance to do its job on the ice. In fact, many wanted him off of the Olympic Team saying he didn't belong, that he would - once again - screw it up.

But it wasn't Paul who screwed up at those games. Todd Eldredge (ranked as the #1 US skater at the time, though he hadn't skated at nationals) and Kurt Browning (3 time, and reigning World Champion touted to win the Games) both had disasters of a short program. They would both go on to continue that unlucky streak. It was Paul's opportunity to show his greatness, and he did.

I love Scott's commentary at the beginning. He's so choked up. Their friendship dated back so far before this moment, and to have Scott be a part of it like that -I'm sure meant a lot to Paul. Yeah. Scott pulls for his favorites. He, like the rest of us, is invested in their career. Can't fault him for being just as excited as the rest of us.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Nineteen

Day 19: Which figure skater would you marry?

Well if you'd asked me when I was five, I would have said Scott Hamilton. I was very vocal that he was the guy for me, back in the day. However, a good bit of math lessons later I realized that the age difference was a bit too large to overcome. So I gave up on that dream.

I think if I were to fall for a figure skater he'd be someone like, oh, I don't know Kurt Browning. Ha ha. Once again there's too big of an age gap for the real deal, but everything we can tell from the outside he's pretty much Prince Charming with personality (so maybe more like Prince Naveen from The Princess & The Frog). Though I'm sure he's hardly a saint. I also seem to go for tall, dark and handsome as I crushed hard on Evan Lysacek for a few years. So who knows.

As long as the guy treats me right, has a sense of humor, and is a Christfollower I should be good...

Friday, January 21, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Eighteen

Day 18: Favorite Music for Skating

People may think I'm weird, but my favorite music I've seen skaters skate to is the canned music that the ice dancers used for the Yankee Polka Compulsory Dances. Honestly, this is the main reason I was incredibly bummed when the ISU did away with the CDs. Not only do the CDs show the difference between a high level team and low level team, but because of no more Yankee Polka! Who doesn't really love a good polka dance. Yeah the music cheesy and the costumes are awkward, but it's so peppy and fun! Maybe it's my German roots that makes the music call out to me, I don't know, but I just love it! I love going to EPCOT and sitting in the Germany pavilion and listening (and jigging) to the music. I'm a dork, but I love it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ask me anything

Settled In...

Well, it's official, I love living on my own. Parents aren't too far away, so it's nice. I've got a routine, Yuka's adjusted easily enough, and it's feeling homey. I'm leaning more towards not getting a roomie and just having my rent knocked down to one person instead of two living here. It'll still be tight, but it is what it is.

The studio is all set up in one of the spare bedrooms and I have my first clients coming over on Sunday in the afternoon. Gaylord and my dad have both helped me to set it up (dad doing the heavy lifting and construction, Gaylord set up the lights!). Mom is sewing together some new backdrops and I'm getting excited to get into the action.

Work is going a bit better, but I'm still pretty sure this isn't something I want to do forever. I don't like the hours, nor do I like coming home smelling like all kinds of gross due to the money handling. I'm not a huge fan of customer service type jobs where you have to be actually in the line of fire when someone decides they want to be pissed off at the company so they take it out on the poor little defenseless peon. I can only hold my tongue so much before I want to truly rip them a new one.

Next week (actually a week from last night) we head out to California. One week in Grass Valley, another week in Disneyland. I'm excited, but I really don't want Haille to turn 5. I've found all of these photos of when she was small (well... small for her) and I miss those times. I miss that girl. That's the one thing that is really tough (that and getting used to sales tax again) about being down here. I really, honestly, miss knowing I can see Haille by just picking up the phone or the keys and setting a play date. Now it's gotta be planned out well enough in advance that our schedules match. It'll be even harder when she starts "real" school. My heart hurts thinking about it.

I got my new to me vehicle this past weekend. Gaylord drove it down while Judy drove down in the Saturn. It's more of a plum color to me, and so I'm in the process of deciding what to name him/her (not sure gender yet) and getting a set of custom plates. It runs really well, my only real complaint is the seatbelt is hard to secure... it pops on me all the time as I'm driving down the road. Not a good thing to have happen.

Well I need to get moving. Got lots to do this afternoon, and I need to get my house presentable for when I have company/clients on Sunday. Today is, obviously, my day off, and so my parents are coming over tonight for an early bday meal as my birthday is tomorrow and I have to work till 6:30ish... another low key bday, but I'm okay with that. I get steak and noodles, I'm all about that.

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Seventeen

Day 17: Least Favorite Skater

Tonya Harding was my favorite figure skater going into the 1993/94 season. I liked that she was a tomboy, I could identify with that. She was all strength, and not just pretty frills. I also liked Nancy Kerrigan. They were an unstoppable duo in my mind - and the mind of American Media.

And then a whack heard round the world happened. As a huge fan of Tonya I was devastated to find out that she had played a part in it. Granted, I was young and impressionable and I bought into the media circus just like most did, but even now I have a hard time looking at the story and not believing she got off scott free for something she had more to do with than what she and her lawyers said. Her alligator tears, script, added to her actions that followed just prove to me that the USFSA had every right to take her out of American skating.

I think it a travesty that she was allowed to skate in the Olympics. She didn't deserve that spot.

So I guess that counts as least favorite skater. There are others I can't stand for personality reasons - if I don't like your skating, well, then I don't like your skating... but if you open your mouth and annoy me... then we have issues. lol But the unsportsmanlike conduct throughout the 93/94 season on Harding's part makes her my all time least favorite. She deserved the ban. She deserved the shunning. And still does.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Sixteen

Day 16: Dream Podium for 2014

Again, I don't think we even know who the main players or any of the players are going to be, but if I could have my way Keegan Messing (USA), the Shibutanis (USA) and Mirai Nagasu (USA) would all be somewhere on their respective podiums. Not very creative, am I? ha ha!

Monday, January 17, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Fifteen

Day 15: Predict the Olympic Champions of 2014

I can't do that, I don't think at this point anyone can. I don't believe that the main players have emerged yet, they may not even be on the senior circuit yet. There are some skaters saying they want to stick it out another four years, there are others who are on the fence, some are only promising to take it a year at a time and some of the top names are only going to the halfway mark. It's fun to guess, it's fun to dream, but honestly? Who knows!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Fourteen

Day 14: Top 5 Dance Teams

1 - Renee Roca & Gorsha Sur, USA. Everything about this team just oozes confidence. I love their classic dance style, and the fact that Gorsha is smokin' hot. Ha ha! I loved their romantic/slow dance type pieces most, they really felt those programs through to their fingertips!

2 - Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto, USA. They definitely made ice dance fun for Americans. I think what drew me into their skating most was they were my age, they looked so much more mature, and they skated to Elvis. Hello, awesomeness right there!

3 - Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov, USA. I'm seeing a pattern here, ha ha! I think a lot of this bias comes from the fact that I've met them in person and they are not only very responsive, but they cherish the relationships with their fans. They're hardcore dedicated to the sport, and they are pretty fantastic on the ice. Watching Denis' basic skills on Skating with the Stars this winter really made me realize just how special this team is.

4 - Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean, Great Britain. I think it's considered sacriledge not to have them on a top five list, and even worse that I put them so low. Oh well. I could gush about them and say everything that is always said about them. But, I don't know. I love their choreography more than their actual skating.

5 - Shae-Lynn Bourne & Victor Kraatz, Canada. The first ice dance team that took my interest competitively. Mainly because I loved watching Victor. River Dance was fun and kicky, and their Hotel California was so smooth...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Thirteen

Day 13: Top 5 Pairs Teams

1 - Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov, USSR/Russia. The most perfect pair. It's being argued now that there are others that have surpassed this team in greatness - and technically that may be true - but no other team has that type of love story magic.

2 - Jamie Sale & David Pelletier, Canada. After G&G no team captured my imagination until Jamie and David. Theirs was a Western Love Story that has, tragically, dissipated for no good reason. Still, their skating early on was captivating, light and fun. Marred only by a judging scandal turned media hoopla at the Olympics, and subsequently an early retirement to the pro ranks, this team is still something special.

3 - Christine Hough & Doug Ladret, Canada. Tuffy and Doug, I enjoy them more as professionals than their competitive stuff, but still so much fun.

4 - Yuka Sato & Jason Dunjen, Japan/USA. A pair first off the ice, they became a pair on the ice when dabbling on the ice on their "time off" from touring and coaching. Probably one of the most inspiring pairs just for their story. She lights up something in Jason.

5 - Elena Bechke & Denis Petrov, Russia. They are your total Russian pair... she was spunky, he presented her perfectly. I loved their programs to Russian folk music.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Twelve

Day 12: Top 5 Favorite Ladies Skaters

1 - Yuka Sato, Japan. Yes, I named my dog after her. I saw Yuka for the first time in 99 when she came up with Scott's tour to Anchorage. I'd never heard of her, which is surprising considering she is a beloved skater. She was just so CUTE. She was just starting to skate with her hubby at the time and I loved watching their program, but she sparkled like no one else that night. And she's so quiet when skating across the ice. And she's cute as a bug. My dog does NOT take after her namesake (as I'm typing this she's barking and tearing up one of her toys... because she can).

2 - Kristi Yamaguchi, USA. Yama has always said Dorothy Hamill was her idol and she wanted to be her... well, I wanted to be Kristi Yamaguchi. She is the perfect combination of athletics and artistry (especially the longer she was in the professional ranks). She's a great inspiration/role model. And she's hot. lol

3 - Josee Chouinard, Canada. I've loved her since seeing her in Ice Wars. Which means I've liked her longer than I've liked Kurt! Shocking! I had the priviledge of watching her skate in 99 when she came with Scott's tour up to Anchorage. She skated to Rose in the Wind and Prima Donna. Adorable. Absolutely adorable.

4 - Angela Nikodinov, USA. Not surprising that she made my top five considering she is the one who skated my favorite ladies program of all time! She is just so smooth... I wish her nerves held up better under pressure because she's an amazing skater.

5 - Katia Gordeeva, Russia. It goes without saying that Katia is the picture of bravery. After having her world fall in around her after the death of her husband when she was 24 (wow, I'm two years older than she was!) she came back as a single working mother skating in front of millions for the first time by herself. She is an incredible inspiration. And she's gorgeous!

Not shocking - to me - is the fact that I've left Michelle Kwan off the list. There is no denying her contribution to the sport; however, she does absolutely nothing for me. She's like Tiger Woods - technically brilliant, but quite possibly the most boring personality. They both know how good they are, and that bugs me. Not so much that they acknowledge it, but they expect you to as well. I'm sorry, you can win five gazillion titles, if I see nothing special about it I'm not only going to say it - but I am not going to worship at the House of Kwan (or Woods).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Eleven

Day 11: Top 5 Favorite Male Skaters

Now here's something that should be relatively easy.... I hope.

1 - it's a tie for first between Scott Hamilton and Kurt Browning. From a strictly skating standpoint, Kurt wins hands down. Kurt is the most brilliant, talented and amazing skater on the planet past and present. His triple axel is GORGEOUS and his artistry sublime. No skater comes close to touching him in all around awesomeness. Scottie gets a nod, though, because he's been my hero since age four. I cannot let him slip to number two, I'd feel like I'm betraying him!
3 - Paul Wylie. He's smooth, he's inspiring, and he's a Man of God. What more could you want? Yeah, he seems to be a one hit wonder, but he's the encourager, and I love hearing him speak. And no one does the spread eagle like he does.
4 - Brian Boitano. Well, Duh. Who doesn't love watching him skate?
5 - Brian Orser. I've seen him skate LIVE... he's amazing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Ten

Day 10: Last competition/show you attended...

I will speak on both, because I can. The last competition I attended was in 2008, the US National Figure Skating Championships held, that year, in St. Paul Minnesota. I met up with my regular gang of crazy girls and we, once again, had a wonderful time. The skating was good, some parts of the competition were nail biters (Johnny vs Evan anyone?), I shocked everyone by booing the scores at the end of the Men's final... we all took interest in several of the soon to be stars in Juniors (The Shibs, for one... and I got the girls hooked on Keegan!)

The last show/gala I was able to attend was the Fairbanks Art Festival Skating exhibition. Melissa and Denis were guest skaters and teachers and the kids of the area did an amazing job with their skating. It was such a joy to be able to see some great skating by the local talent as well as a wonderful performance by Gregory & Petukhov. They made me realize that I missed the feeling of watching figure skating LIVE, and I vowed to make it down to another skating event in the states soon. US Nationals 2012, here I come! (I hope)
I've heard that Fairbanks is not going to have the skating event this summer. Which has me completely bummed out as I was hoping to take the trip back up there this summer, but no such luck. Guess I will just have to reflect back on last summer, then. It's a huge disservice by the head honchos to kill the participation of the skaters. They were terrific.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Nine

Day 9: Feelings on Code of Points

First of all, I apologise for not sticking with this, but the break was needed ha ha.

I am going to probably annoy a lot of people by stating my feelings on the CoP. I have no problem with it. Yes, it's still being tweaked after nearly eight years since it's inception, and yes it's hard to keep up with the numbers and the rule changes and blah blah blah...

But Competitive skating should be sport first and I feel the CoP pushes that more so than 6.0. Yes, corruption still exists, let's not try to kid ourselves one way or the other. As long as there is anonymous judging and personal preference there will be those issues.

Do I think it has killed the artistic side? No, I think those skaters that are on top now would probably be on top with 6.0 with the same sort of program (ie boring). Do I think Patrick Chan would still get bonus points from the judges when he flubs up - yes. These are the same judges we had 8 years ago give or take a few names. It's not all that different, just more numbers and more work to finagle.

This season has been a weird one. The ISU is dancing a very odd tune trying to please the sport aspect while pleasing then many vocal unhappy fans. They are trying to get that balance of artistry and sport. It's seemingly backfiring this season with the quad points as Chan has proven.

Is it a perfect system? No. But, then, no system would be. I think the CoP is the right direction.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Frustrations creeping up...

I had a meltdown last night. Dad picked me up around 8 to go look at a car to replace the Duck Truck. Yes, that's right, the Ford Ranger was considered totalled by the insurance company. I'm still upset about it. That truck was an awesome vehicle. I miss it. Anyway dad found a couple of cars on Craigslist after getting caught by a scammer with a Ford Escape. Hopefully my parents are saved from any true fraud. No money had exchanged hands anyway.

So off we went to check out this Monte Carlo. The one thing I told mom was that I did not want a low to the ground vehicle. This was not understood or relayed to my dad. So I was incredibly disappointed to see how short/small the car was. I took one look at it and thought "oh heck no." Dad was pretty happy with it, but if I can't see over a snowberm I don't want it. I was very adament about that.

I was in a bad mood because work is also not going well. I just feel absolutely stupid every night as I've keyed something wrong just about everynight and everyone stands around waiting for me to finish or - worse - realizes I've made a mistake so they go tell everyone it's going to take a while.

So after I told dad I did not want the car and we had a heated discussion about the car I was going to be seeing on Sunday (about the same size but a buick which always translates into an old fogie car, to me, as well as a boat of a car at that) and I just lost it. I'm just tired of all the crap. If things don't start looking up I'm going to go insane. Thanks to taxes I am not making enough to afford rent, gas and food... I can have two of the three. I still have NO roommate prospects as I'm stuck advertising only through churches because my parents are worried some crazy person is going to come in otherwise...


So I cried in dad's truck while we got gas and then really lost it when it pulled into my driveway. I was just TIRED of it all. I didn't want to be angry at dad - it's not his fault I've screwed this whole thing up by biting off more than I could ever possibly chew - and I didn't want to cry. Dad put his arm around my shoulders and I lost it. So then he sent me inside and parked the truck and came in. I think he was afraid I'd hurt myself LOL. We watched a bit of tv, dad started to fall asleep so I sent him home... besides I still had to work today so I needed to go to bed...

which I didn't get to sleep until 11... and even then it wasn't very fitful, so today I was in a fog.

I came home at lunch to good news. Judy and Gaylord had found a Ford Explorer in my price range and had purchased it. It's a bit older than the Ranger was... but they're convinced it is a good find... so I'm hopeful. Not the dream car, but I will get a Ford Escape someday. That's the dream.

If I survive this nightmare first. Oy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Eight

Day 8: Favorite Ladies Program

This is so much easier than the men... I'm not a huge fan of ladies skating. I do have my favorites, but as far as picking a favorite program it's simple. It's Angela Nikodinov's (admittedly overused) short program "Just For You". It was the first program for her transformation into the elegant skater she is remembered as. It's still my favorite even after 10 years of "more brilliant" skaters. Brilliant. Sure. Whatever.

The medal doesn't make the skater...

Monday, January 3, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Seven

Day 7: Favorite Men's Program

You really want to hurt me, don't you? How am I supposed to choose just one program? It's pretty close to impossible. The Men's dicipline is my favorite in figure skating, no surprise there, and I have a lot of favorite programs. So I'm going to narrow it down to two, favorite show program and favorite competitive program... at least I hope by the time I'm done I can have one. It'd be easier to just ask for favorite body of work of a figure skater! LOL

I'm still having a hard time deciding, I've had this blog open pretty much since I got home two hours ago and I'm still watching Youtube trying to decide just which program I want to use. It's come down to Kurt Browning, but that just narrows it down to A skater... not a program. I have so many favorites for so many reasons. And just when I think I have decided my heart comes up with another love.

But I think I'm going to go with Serenade to Sonia on this one. Not because it's technically difficult, or mindblowingly artistic (that'd be Nyah and Summertime) but because of the heart in it. It is, after all, a program dedicated to and about his relationship with his (then) new bride. And it's the program that made me fall in love with the Canadian skater whom most of the skating world already loved.

So there, whew, I picked my favorite show program... now to decide on my favorite competitive program... oh dear. This didn't seem to be so difficult. Originally I was going to go with Kurt's 1994 SP to St. Louis Blues (even if it was a disaster in Lillehammer), then I remembered I liked Evan Lysacek's Carmen, and then I wanted to pick Ryan Bradley's 2010 LP, and then I remembered I love several of Alexei Yagudin's programs. So many fantastic programs. And I do enjoy watching Johnny Weir's Otonal program... oy...

Alright I went with Ryan Bradley's 2010 Free Program. I dedicated a whole blog post about it last year, so why not. It's a fantastic program. It's everything I enjoy about the sport - in a COMPETITIVE program! It's just freaking awesome. I cannot wait to see what he does at nationals this year (so glad you've come back, Ryan!)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Six

Day 6: Predict - gold medalists at 2011 Worlds

I am a horrible predictor. Chances are if I name someone as the winner they bomb. I am unlucky. This is not just in figure skating but in mushing and football as well. If I cheer too loudly or have too much faith in even the heavy favorite, they lose. It's so bad that I've had to promise several athletes that I won't cheer for them at all! LOL

But since I have promised to do this stupid 30 day thing I will go ahead and jinx six skaters and ruin their year.

Ladies - Miki Ando, pretty sure she's being set up as the winner. Would love to see Alissa Cizny just have a monster year and take it all, though.

Men - Daisuke Takahashi. Granted he didn't have a good nationals, and he will be defending his world title at home and yadda yadda yadda, but I think he can do it (Kurt Browning's season the year he defended his first World's title was crappy too).

Pairs - Savchenko and Szolkowy. I know most have given this to Pang & Tong, but I'm giving it to the Germans. Because they're awesome.

Dance - Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will win this thing, if they compete. If not Meryl Davis & Charlie White.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Five

Day 5: Your favourite Dance program

Oh goodness this is tough. Growing up I didn't "get" the ice dance side of the sport, it didn't have jumps or throws so it just didn't interest me. Then in 1999 I attended a show in Anchorage that Scott Hamilton (shocking, I know) brought up partnering with Tesoro. Renee Roca & Gorsha Sur were the token dance team in the show and they totally blew me away. Who knew ice dance could be so amazing? They skated to their program titled "Ghost". It sent shivers through me at 14.

Fast forward a few years to 2005 when I went to my first US National Championships. I met up with Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov and Melissa's mom and grandparents (who are all amazing). It was the first time I'd met them face to face, though we'd communicated by email prior to my making the trek to an actual event. I learned so much by sitting with Dale that week as she explained the basics of the dances. She was just your regular skater mom, but it was through her that I fell in love with the sport her daughter was a part of.

In 2007, Melissa and Denis had the free dance of a lifetime. It was one of the most beautiful programs I have ever seen, and I'm still so bummed that I did not get to see them skate it live. It was their Adam and Eve program - which would later become "Fallen Angels" a program they skated with US Men's Champion Johnny Weir.

I know I've already featured them before, and I'm incredibly biased, but Adam & Eve/Fallen Angels was just spectacular. I was tempted to go with Belbin & Agosto's Gypsy Free Dance from 2005, or Torvill & Dean's Take Five, but I've gotta go with MelDen once again. That program was everything a free dance should be.

And, of course, I gotta give some love to Gorsha Sur and that chick he skated with... so amazing.