Sunday, January 26, 2014

Getting Ready for Figure Skating At The Olympics

WHEN SOMEONE TELLS ME THAT THEY DON'T PLAN TO WATCH FIGURE SKATING AT SOCHI, I'M LIKE

I THEN TIE THEM UP IN FRONT OF THE TV

AND MAKE THEM WATCH THIS:

OR THIS:

AND AFTERWARDS THEY'RE LIKE THIS





CONVERTING PEOPLE TO LOVING FIGURE SKATING ONE VIDEO AT A TIME!


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Kickin' Up The 8 Step Mohawk

Miss Bianca and I are working on my 'Captain Hook' program. I'm just adorable. Really.

Now she wants me to add an 8 step mohawk. Well that's what she calls it. Also, it's "A dancey little element."

It's NOT 'the' 8 step mohawk. Below is a 'real' 8 step mohawk. Crossover, mohawk, back stroke, back step over (or crossover, I can't tell), turn forward with a back inside mohawk (facing into the circle).


What she wants me to do is a kicked up modification of this. Forward crossover, crossover, mohawk, Crossed STEP BEHIND while going backwards, cross in front, turn forward.

Uh, Going backwards, and crossing the free foot behind the skating foot! This is me:


This is what a back crossed step behind looks like (as done by a world champion ice dancer).


So for me, the real trick was the little 'kick' forward before the actual step behind. Oh, and pointing my toe forward with all the strength in my tiny little body, until I brought my my foot back. And keeping my thighs together.

Then I remembered I'd posted about this before, only forwards!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Theft at the Rink.2

A couple of years ago I blogged about theft at the rink as a general topic. Until this weekend it hadn't reached my home rink.

One of the coaches was wandering around barefoot after freestyle was over. She drew Miss Bianca aside and said her shoes were missing. Knock off Uggs, but apparently someone really, really wanted them.

And they never turned up. The coach had to drive home barefoot. Theft has finally reached my home rink.

I admit that when I first started skating, I worried about someone stealing my shoes. I used to keep a spare pair in the car, just in case. I guess I need to start doing that again.

The other rink I skate at has had signs up about theft for over a year now. Someone would walk off with hockey equipment, and sometimes just pick up a skate bag during the LTS class (I guess just hoping there was a wallet in it). That rink I could understand it happening. It's a mall rink with people wandering in and out. My home rink is a rink rink.

Well, the coaches don't have a pros room. They store their bags in an out of the way place, but it's not locked or particularly hidden. Still it seems like an inside job. You have to know the rink and its customs.

This only works if the thief knows where the wallet is.

Anyway, the same day I had to move a gift bag to get to my skate bag. When I bent down to lift it aside, I saw a cell phone on top. Some people are begging to be ripped off.

 Locking things up in a locker may be the safest for public sessions, but not every rink has lockers. And if you're careful, you probably don't need it. My previous post has some good suggestions.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My First Program: Choreography

 Coach Miss Bianca gets an idea for my program

I am going to be Captain Hook from Peter Pan!So Coach Miss Bianca scripts out my choreography


Then we run through it. I camp it up.

Exaggerated Sword Play

Head Jazz
Arm Movement and booty shaking
We're still negotiating the level of camp I can put into my skating.
(The full 1960 NBC presentation of Peter Pan with Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Ritchard as the absolute classic Captain Hook is on YouTube) Here's my special part (cut down to 1:05)

So there's my next three months of skating!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Who's At Fault? Freestyle Etiquette .1

Today I witnessed an interesting crash between two skaters.

Visualize this: A skater is working on her double lutz. She is 'in lesson' with her coach watching from the boards. Let's call her LutzGirl. There's another skater, also in lesson, at the same end of the rink. Let's call her BackwardSkater.

LutzGirl is doing an approach to the lutz circle. She raises her pick-in leg and then BackwardSkater skates behind her, through the lutz circle.

LutzGirl's free skate rams BackwardSkater in the stomach (edit) with her skate. LutzGirl falls forward onto her knees, lets out a small scream of pain and rolls in agony onto her side. BackwardSkater is bent over moaning.

Who's at fault?

Here are some thoughts:
LutzGirl had the right of way to the lutz circle, but shouldn't her coach have been watching the area around her?
BackwardSkater did not have the right of way, but LutzGirl would do a lutz then skate to the boards and confer with her coach. So the lutz circle would be open for say 5 minutes at a time, then LutzGirl would abruptly keave the boards and do a lutz approach.
However, LutzGirl had been doing lutz approaches off and on for 15 minutes.
Neither coach called out a warning.

Again, who's at fault?

(FYI; Both skater's recovered and finished freestyle)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Adult Basic 6--

USFSA changed the Basic skills for Adults from Basic 4 to Basic 6 back in the Summer. I'm cool with the decision. Basic 4 left a lot of things out and assumed Adults just wanted to learn dance. Anyway, on Wednesday I started my second class of Adult Basic 6. Yes, I graduated from Basic 8 several years ago, but followers of this blog will know I've been cursed by a lot of injuries since then and lost some skills.

Basic 6 consists of the following skills:
  1.  Forward inside OPEN mohawk, both directions
  2.  Forward Perimeter Stroking with crossover end patterns
  3.  Alternating backward crossovers with two-foottransition
  4.  Backward crossovers to a backward outside edge glide (landing position)
  5. Lunge
  6. Spiral
  7. Bunny Hop (optional)
  8. Footwork sequence: (3-5 forward crossovers to an inside Mohawk, 3-5 backward crossovers, step forward inside the circle and repeat) 
 Of this I can do everything except Forward Inside OPEN mohawk, clockwise. I'm not really worried about it. Then our coach says:

"Oh, and to pass the test to graduate, you have to do a mohawk both ways."

A TEST! I've never been to a rink that tested adults. Usually the coach would say, "Take level x next time." But at this rink, THERE'S GOING TO BE A TEST?!!!
 

And passing the test for Basic 6 is rather pointless since Free skate group classes have disappeared from the schedule.

And did I mention the rink charges me for full ice with only half ice access?
Yes rink, I'm going to keep judging you


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Back In Group Class.1 (Updated)

I've restarted taking mid-week group class to put some hours on my skates and build up my leg strength. An hour an a half of HALF ICE public, followed by 30 min of beginner dance, and 30 min of Adult Basic Six.

Shall I tell you the living hell of skating for an hour and a half on HALF ICE public?  And they charge us FULL PRICE FOR HALF ICE! I'd really, really like to express my attitude to rink management about this gigantic rip-off.

So after that, all the adult LTS (about 50 people) are crowded into a half ice, while LTP with about 10 people takes up the other half. Meanwhile the people in LTS Adult 2 keep skating backwards without looking behind them....right at me. I mean it must be wonderful to be so clueless that you skate backwards without looking behind you.


But fortunately, we're widely separated from the Adult Basic 1 class. Over there it's all like this:

I am humbled though by the fact than in a few months most of these people will be skating better than I am.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Great Moments In Public Skate.1

Someone skates in front of me and I'm all dodgy;


And the ice tourists are all:

How'd she do that?
Or maybe
What just happened?

But I feel like:


Until some 12 year old does a flip right in front of me.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Building a Skating Program---

Miss Bianca is determined that I do a program in May. An ISI spotlight program for Delta level skaters.


So far we've eliminated my attempt to reuse my Death Costume in  "Death Takes a Holiday". Death skates in, scythe in hand to tolling bells. Then the background noise of a hockey game comes up. He throws back his robe to reveal a hockey jersey,  and using the scythe as a hockey stick, skates around hockey style, then he scores and the hockey goal siren comes up. Next Death emulates Gene Kelly's 'mop' number, by skating with the scythe as if it's a dance partner.
Then as the bell starts to toll again,  Death lunges with the scythe as if to kiss it. Yes, Death scores twice!  So, maybe better for Adult Nationals someday.

Anyway, the program's too long and, seeing me in my costume has driven children to tears so we're looking for something else.

 Miss Bianca has suggested I skate to "Captain Hook's Waltz". This requires a ship prop. 

So far I'm learning that in ISI, if there's not a dremel tool involved there's not a spotlight program.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Things I Hate About Skating.9

The tops of my boots tear up my leg when I skate more than 2 hours.


What I think:
What you think:


(Is all okay now, I have doubled bunga gel tube over it.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

After Skating for 2 and a Half Hours

One and a half public
Two 30 minute group lessons

When I get home:

 And then:

And did I mention my feet yet?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Things I Hate About Skating. 8

WHEN MY COACH HAS DECIDED I'M GOING TO BE IN A COMPETITIONS

 How she acts:


How I act on the outside:


How I feel inside:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Buying New Boots: The Fitting

You may have read about my Duckfeet and my need to replace my 5 year old Jackson Competitors. The problem is: With what? You know, I thought that as an adult once I had a boot I liked I could keep buying that boot, but noooooo, my feet keep changing! Kid's feet get longer; adult feet get wider! After your 60's it's a complete fitting every time!

I'm fortunate that I have the best, possibly the most famous skate tech in the nation about 90 minutes away. When I say 'famous', I don't mean someone who's name you've heard. I mean famous as in a skate tech who is hired by USFSA to go to Nationals, Worlds, and the Olympics to support US figure skaters. Someone who has supported multiple National, World, and Olympic champions with boot fixes and sharpenings, and fitted them for new boots.  For hundreds of square miles around where I live, if a skater asks 'Who does your blades?', just saying his first name is enough.

And I'm lucky that despite the fact I am a lowest of the low skater, I've earned the benefits of being a 'regular'. I buy my boots from him, and he does my sharpenings. He's always able to squeeze me in if I have a 'figure skating emergency'.

Today was our first consultation about my new boots. I'm trying to get stock boots.

Reidells are right out. He says they won't fit my duck feet (actually he says "that's not a good last for you").
Jacksons I have been happy with, but not a good choice for my duck feet, and I can only get split width in Premiers. which are too stiff.
I then mention SP-Teri and Harlicks new X-Line boot which seem perfect for duck feet (they come split width in stock).

When I mention Harlick X-lines his eyes light up like the eyes of a coon hound that's caught the scent. He pulls out the Harlick measuring stick, a measuring tape, the special Harlick-block-of-wood-with-a-pin-in-it, a pencil, and a special Harlick form. We're off!

My tech outlines my feet on a piece of paper  while I'm sitting (no weight on my feet), standing (with weight on the feet), measures the circumference of the ball of my feet, and measures my feet several different ways with a foot measuring stick.  Then he consults the special Harlicks sizing chart (thers a size close to my measurements) and calls someone he knows at Harlicks.

After the consultation, he marks the drawing of my feet by sticking the Harlick-block-of-wood-with-a-pin-in-it in a couple of places. (I think must be arcane dark magic with which no Harlick fitter can work without. No idea what he's marking, maybe the foot midline? )

After a wait, there's a second phone consultation with Harlicks. They'll send out a boot for me to try on. If that doesn't work, I guess we'll see about custom SP-Teris.

What did I learn?
Size: Harlick 6
Good news: I have no pronation! All my footercize worked!
Strange news: You've heard of high arches and low arches. I have long arches.

As to what actual boot model? I'm looking at the Harlick Classic (with ankle notch).  It's the lightest stiffness, and is actually suitable for roller or figures. Since I don't jump, and don't skate every day, I should get a year or so out of it.  get quite a bit of wear out of it.

There. The whole experience is out of my system. I know what you're thinking:

No, really, I'm finished. Honest, it's out of my system.













Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Click of Death

A few days ago, I was practicing back crossovers in the center when I had the dreaded 'click of death'. My back toepick had caught on the heel of my front foot.

I fell backwards and had to do some quick twisting to keep my head off the ice, then slid a bit before I came to a stop and ended up staring at the ceiling.

The next thing I know there's an 8 year old girl leaning over me with concern.

"Are you okay?"

My humiliation complete, I get up and start back crosses again.