icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Summing up the Olympics in a conversation with [personal profile] aigooism:

Have been following the Olympics, too! Haven't seen all the gala yet (but have it TiVo'd).

Re: The US team uniforms.
Best description: "Keeping grandmas knitting [since 1924]."

Re: The Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
You gotta hand it to the Russians. They understand that ceremonies have to be BIG. And they know how to do BIG. Also, great sense of humor. Also, only the Russians would dangle a 5th grader 100 feet from the floor and expect her to sing. Truly, Russian culture clearly represented.

Me: "Disturbing symbolism, that Russian history ends with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the little girl letting go a red balloon. Putin misses the USSR."
Best answer: "I don't know why he'd miss it. He's done a pretty good job of recreating large swathes of it."

Re: NoSnowChi.
I planned to watch skiing, not water polo. In some ways the melting snow made it interesting, in that you got to see eight out of thirteen world class skiers wipe out. That's ... new. The halfpipe: a combination of the utterly slooow, because of the slush in the bottom, and the frankly dangerous. The Sochi course for the biathlon and cross-country was beautiful. Too bad they couldn't use it beyond the first week, since the snow conditions forced them to schedule ski events at night when it got colder.

Re: Girls in spaaaaaaace!
Yay, women's ski jumping! Now they need to have men and women both in the team event.

Re: Making a grown skier cry.
No one's ever accused Bode Miller of being articulate. So poking him about his dead brother -- who was aiming to make the US Snowboarding team -- is just not on. Was touching though, how protective the other skiers were of him. Not so Bode's new wife: here her husband's having a meltdown, and she hugs him with one eye trained on the camera, her cheek properly angled to the television audience. The other skiers didn't do that; they put their butts to the camera and all their attention on Bode, waving the cameras off.

Re: PUPPIES!
I have officially fallen for Gus Kenworthy and his puppy<3. Three cheers for dog-loving Russian billionaires, too, who rush in and save the day, and build shelters for the dogs who didn't have a snowboarder fall in love.

Re: the house of cards.
Sochi's a Potemkin village that wasn't finished in time for the display. Pay no attention to the unfinished luge tunnels. Putting the journalist hotel rooms last on your list may have been a tactical error, Sochi.

Re: the volunteers are the first to die.
Am I the only person who noticed the Sochi volunteers were a wee bit unprofessional, wandering out onto ski races while the skiers were barreling down at 60mph, cutting off Kim Yuna as she stepped off the ice? Ah, who needs dry runs anyway?

Re: The great snowboarder we forced to defect to Russia.
At least Vic Wild is happy? So weird to hear the Russian snowboarder win with a clearly American, "YEAH!" Google-search-Activate! The Russian press spins his defection as true love, but he's made it clear his reasons for the switch was the lack of funding for alpine snowboarding in the US. Our one Olympic alpine skier had to live out of his truck? No funding for a coach? Jesus.

Re: stunned like a bird who hit glass.
Jeremy Abbott's nasty fall in his short program quad, where he bounced off the ice, slammed into the boards and lay there like a stunned bird as his music played...

... I've seen bad falls like that before. But I've never seen a skater look so clearly like he wanted to give up. Then as he stood and the Russian crowd cheered, he took such heart, he nailed everything else. Tara Lipinski had it right--Jeremy's fragile. His near-telepathic sensitivity to whether the audience is behind him or not (which killed his international success) would make him a great coach. You'll be seeing more from him in skating, I promise. Someone whose last skating experience is a success like that? Yes, he'll stick around. Also, when he finished his freeskate, he looked relaxed for the first time since he took the bronze at Nationals in 2007. So good to see sweet Jeremy back.

Also, I've never heard music play in a pregnant silence before (except maybe Torvil & Dean's Bolero). I can still hear it.

Re: The king is dead.
While I understand, Plushenko, the king of figure skating, was doing fine up until right before the short program, Russia could only have one skater in the men's competition. It would not have played out any other way, I get it. But Plushenko should have stood aside for the next generation.

Re: The Queen is not dead. She's retired.
The lesson I draw from Kim Yuna taking silver is the same one I drew from Plushenko taking silver in 2010: if you want to win at the Olympics, you have to compete all season. I realize she stole the show at 2013 Worlds. But I notice that this year, she made the same mistake Plushenko did in Vancouver: on the technical side, her program was just too easy. Johnny Weir pointed out her harder elements were front-loaded. This program could've been fine-tuned -- would've been fine-tuned -- if she'd been competing all season.

She didn't skate with competitive fire that I could tell. Although she's always an elegant and dignified skater, she seemed to be ... dutiful ... about her attendance at this year's Olympics. Like she competed solely to represent South Korea, but in her heart, she was retired.

Re: 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Thank god, they have snow.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
And here's my happy place:



Who's the hot young Japanese skater the camera keeps following? (When does the competition season start again?)
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
I had a chocolate bar, but I eated it. *kitty grin*

Took mom to Stars On Ice Thursday to see (eeee!) Evan Lysacek! She giggled and whispered comments through the whole show.

Now I have to get her to Skate America.

I now add my voice to the chorus that Michael Shanks is a fine actor. After ten years of watching him on SG-1 I didn't recognize him on Supernatural the other night. All I saw was the role. Wow.

Now back to the final scene of my SGA/SPN crossover. John Sheppard's checking out the carnage after a demon fight.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Evan Lysacek decided to skip the World championship and "go play" on Dancing With The Stars.

Let's back up.

Last fall, mom and I had a blast every Monday and Tuesday to watch the likes of Donny Osmond and snow boarder Louie Vito dance and play and groan with frustration...

... wow, that sounds downright indecent.

Anyhoo, with or without slash goggles, Dancing With The Stars is an upbeat reality show sans the mean-spiritedness of most reality TV. The competition stays out on the dance floor, and every star comes in as an underdog. They're famous. But they're not dancers. Not really. You get to know your favorite stars -- and a few you've never heard of -- while watching them work under intense pressure in a supportive but honest environment.

Lysacek has no idea what he's getting into. Kristy Yamaguchi have said DWTS is the hardest thing she's ever done. Figure skaters learn usually three routines made of familiar elements each competition season. They spend months perfecting them. In Dancing With The Stars Evan will have to learn and perform two new dances, with unfamiliar steps, every week.

On the other hand, Evan's one of the odds on favorites going in, because skaters Kristy Yamaguchi and Apolo Ono both won. Athletes do well in Dancing With The Stars because they have discipline and stamina. And even among competitive skaters Evan has a reputation for being a workhorse.

The gamblers rank the competitors:

Nicole Scherzinger (of the Pussycat Dolls) - +175
Evan Lysacek - +200
Erin Andrews - +400
Aiden Turner - +800
Pamela Anderson - +1000
Jake Pavelka - +1200
Shannen Doherty - +1400
Chad Ochocinco - +1600
Niecy Nash - +2000
Kate Gosselin - +2500
Buzz Aldrin - +5000

I just can't wait to watch Evan ... train. Oh, I look forward to seeing him dance too. But my favorite part of the show is getting to know who the stars are when they're putting in the work for their performances. After all, that's the main focus of Out Of Bounds. Time to see the real thing in action.

Go, Evan, Go!
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
Where did Evan win the gold?

... in Vancouver, of course.

Okay, okay. I'm sure anyone who's been following the Olympics has heard Plushenko complain. Plushenko says the quad is undervalued and he should have won based on it alone.



Where did Evan score the points to win?

Let's compare their moves side by side. You know, the way they replay the skiers side by side. I've reorganized their moves so we're comparing apples to apples. They scored the same artistically so Evan won on the technical scores.

With that quad Plushenko earns a solid 3.2 point lead. )

Uh-oh. Now Plushenko only leads by 2.24 points. He's catchable. )

Lysacek takes another nibble out of Plushenko's quad. Plushenko only leads by two points. )

Lysacek has taken him on the footwork by a full point. Suddenly, Plushenko only leads by a point. )

They're dead even. Plushenko's extra points for the quad are spent.  )

Plushenko has inched ahead again. He's got the lead. By half a point.  )

Lysacek is now in the lead by three tenths, 0.36 to be exact. It's soooo close. )

Lysacek pushes ahead by 1.06 points.  )

Lysacek widens his lead to 2.46 points. )

But that only inches Plushenko up 0.2 points. Lysacek still leads by 2.36 points.  )

Lysacek still leads by 2.36 points. All that's left is footwork and spins. )

As the crowd stands, Lysacek racks another half point to his lead.  )
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
The Olympics are coming! The Olympics are coming!

If you're like me (in years past) you probably tune in to these winter sports, oh, once every four years. You get a general sense of who the favorites are from the announcers and interviews, roll your eyes at the inspirational life story clips, and root for the home team.

Now you don't have to be in the dark. You can be knowledgeable long before the Olympics hit.

At least about figure skating. (Everyone, feel free to correct me. I'm not an expert, I've just been following skating to the best of my ability for a couple years.)

Right now the horse race is on. It's the Grand Prix. As we speak, world class skaters are competing in a series of competitions Russia, France, Canada, the U.S., Japan, and er, I think elsewhere. Right now they're trying to earn points to get to the Grand Prix final -- and prove themselves worthy of the Olympic teams.

You see, last March at the World Championships each country won the number of slots they'd have at the Olympics based on how their skaters did. (The max is three.) China was very disappointed to not win any for men's figure skating. In a real shocker, the U.S. women's figure skating only scored two slots as our current National champ fell apart.

But our men are doing fab. Evan Lysacek won the gold at Worlds and we have a "deep field," namely, many guys running neck and neck for the same titles.

Let's have a look at our boys.

The Americans.


The ever-hot gentleman, Evan Lysacek. (The belt buckle is Batman, with cable and bat-grappling hook.)

Evan has the quad. He has the fire. He's a skater who starts pouring it out in the last 30 seconds of his performance.... )

Finally, there's Mabanoozerabadahblbrghf. Graceful, fluid, fun to watch. I don't know if he'll keep moving up, he's still inconsistent. But he has a musical sense that makes him figure skating eye candy.



Only three will make it to the Olympics.

Which three? We'll know at Nationals in Spokane, January 2010.


Tomorrow: those other guys, yeah, them foreigners.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
I'm not saying that I've considered writing a Merlin figure skating AU where Arthur and Merlin are competitors. But watching Anton Kovalevski skate...



... makes such thoughts inevitable.

And tonight at Worlds his hair was even longer and, well, you picture it.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
Eeee! The men's World Championship is on in five minutes!

Wrote the warm-up to John's short program for Out Of Bounds. Now I need to write his actual short program (or this other scene that's prodding at me). I'm wondering if I should include more of the other skaters or just focus primarily on John's performance.

Any experienced fic writers out there who'd like to do a little hand-holding? I'm dithering and second-guessing myself about these last few scattered scenes like you wouldn't believe. I need someone to tell me, "No, Icarus, that's a bad idea" or "Yes, Icarus, you should write more about the other skaters" and unfortunately my betas are busy right now.


ETA: Okay, this is just bizarre. I wrote a half hour ago that the warm up music is "Born to be Wild." The music being played for Worlds? Guess. Okay, it gets used a lot for figure skating, who knows why.

ETA2: Wow, what a night. What tremendous skating from the last group especially. More tomorrow after it has sunk in.
icarus: (Happy Rodney by Monanotlisa)
You guys are watching the U.S. National Championships now, aren't you?

Go, go, go!

Oh, what an intense, strong, jump-filled and totally professional proformance from this high school kid who just moved up from juniors this year, Mroz. Fun performance (with whoopsies) by the sexy playful Ryan Bradley.

And now, the ringer for John Sheppard, Evan Lysacek is about to perform.

Wooooo!

ETA: Cut to avoid spoilers. )

You know? NBC kind of blew it. The exciting competition was Friday night, at the short program. Thrills and chills, with a close race between Lysacek and Abbott with Abbott's best ever score, followed by one unexpectedly good performance after another. I'm so glad I stayed late at the library Friday to watch it online.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
Quick. I need a city in the Netherlands for a skating competition.* I can't find the name of the city where I stayed in 1985. (Who knew I never wrote Gerben's address down?)

* Not Amsterdam.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
Icenetwork.com has absolutely dreadful customer service.

Bloody Indian customer service reps. They don't give a damn, just find ways to pass the buck, asking me the same questions over and over again. You know what? When I get an American on the phone, they handle the problem. I get an Indian, and they don't. They find a way to shirk wherever they can. They suck, big-time, have no work ethic whatsoever, and every company that outsources its customer service to India will trash their customer loyalty.

Like... mine.

Why am I signed up with these jokers again? Oh, yeah, right. I want to watch the Regionals and Sectionals.

If anyone can give me a better option to watch these lower echelon competitions, I will drop Icenetwork.com in a heartbeat. Any ideas?


ETA: Hooray! They took me seriously when I pointed out that performances from the Grand Prix--their premium items--are turning up on YouTube before I get to see them on icenetwork thanks to their blackout screw up.

Do I still want a replacement for icenetwork? Oh, heck yeah.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Up late last night. Skate America got out at 11:30. Yes, that's pm. Get this: Lysacek's final performance started at 11:05. What a ridiculous schedule, do they do this often?

Woke up late this am. Definitely not doing the 7:30am fan fest this am, eh? Driving back and forth between here and Skate America, I think I've worn a trench in the road.

The crowd booed the judges at the end of the men's program when Lysacek came in third. He really sold it in his performance, but I'm guessing he paid a lot of technical points throughout. Must ask [livejournal.com profile] roaringmice what she thinks.

My favorite women's skater is Kim Na-Yung. Talk about elegance.

Off to the races. Will reply later.

Skate America's too short!
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
Skate America practice sessions:

Wow.

Not too coherent right now, partially because I was up at 4:45am. But some incoherent thoughts:

Wow. Those two Canadian men's skaters arrowing across the ice. What speed. This isn't figure skating. It's Nascar.

Wow. Evan Lysacek bulldogging Johnny Weir. (Okay, I get it, I get it. He considers Weir "the enemy." More about this later.)

Wow. The difference between the fiercely competitive men's skaters and the far more polite ice dancers.

Wow. The sheer adorableness of Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates spunky 1940s program. Really, grab this one on YouTube the moment it's available.

Wow. Belbin and Agosto. What class. It's like watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers show up for an intermediate tap class. There's no comparison. (What makes them great is that Agosto is as fine a skater as she is, and just as riveting. And hell he looks good in tails.) They skated another couple's music, actually skating one to either side of them. More about this psych out in a minute.

Wow. Skaters try to psych each other out by skating one another's music. And it works. There was an incredible moment where Lysacek was skating Weir's music, circling Weir as Weir tried to do his program, making "I'm taking you to the cleaners" eye contact. They were skating together against Johnny's will, it was beautiful, and intense -- visual trash talking. Lysacek skated away, turning his back on Weir, hand on his hip as he stood at the boards, obviously pissed. Another trick is to throw big jumps during a skater's turn, distracting the crowd.

Wow. Todd Eldredge was there with Kimmie Meissner (who has ugly dresses). She seems to be skating well. All smiles and her coach and Todd were beaming. Todd chews gum like a baseball player.

Wow. Miki Ando is a beautiful skater.

Wow. The men fall a lot. They're aggressive, they try all their hardest jumps in practice, and... I started keeping a list of the various ways to fall. There's the skate sliding out and slamming into the boards. There's the overbalance plus shoulder skid. There's the skate wobble followed by dropping like an anvil. There's Johnny Weir's favorite, the overshoot plus bottom bounce (legs in the air, very silly looking). There's the Evan Lysacek forward stumble with shoulder roll, like he's been tackled. There's the falling out of the jump with an ice touch. There's the sideways slide on one's side. The toepick snag and trip (with or without faceplant). The spin wobble with backward flop. The desperate "oh no!" skate skitter followed by a butt bounce. The mushy landing with a sloppy backward thump. The variety is endless. And most of the falls were in men's. In women's, only Kimmie spent the practice working on her jumps.

Also, I think coaches' eyes turn into laser beams as soon as "their" skater hits the ice.

I got a lot out of this, and not what I expected to see at all.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
Hey-la.

Do you like figure skating?

Would you like a free ticket to a major figure skating event that WG cannot attend?

By which I mean Skate America.

By which I mean you get to see Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir and some of the top skaters in the world do their artistic/fun exhibition programs this weekend.

By which I mean that I will pick you up and drive up to Everett for a fun evening of figure skating and frisbees, for an event that's very nearly sold out.

I've talked to [livejournal.com profile] scribbling_elf (who's not sure about her interest in figure skating per se). I hate to see this ticket go to waste since it's unlikely I'd be able to sell a single ticket on Ebay (people buy tickets in pairs).

And, frankly, I'd much rather take one of you guys.

Waddaya say?
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Is there anyone on my f-list who lives in or near Vancouver, Canada?
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
Is SGA skating fic a genre?

I dangled bizarre AUs in front of [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge, enjoying his squeals of pain. Then I was told there were even more figure skating AUs than I knew. (I thought there were three.)

Really? Tell me more.

Turns out we have:

1) The Cutting Edge by [livejournal.com profile] greenconverses. A John/Teyla mostly Gen rewrite of the movie The Cutting Edge, with Rodney as coach (a movie I won't see until after I've finished my billion-page skating fic).
2) Out Of Bounds, which is my own. John/Rodney with John as an almost over-the-hill skater and Rodney as coach and former teen skating star who washed out of the Olympics.
3) Canada Likes It On Top by [livejournal.com profile] busaikko. Not technically a skating AU but rather a fic where John and Rodney go skating. John can't skate at all.
4) Broomstacking by [livejournal.com profile] notpoetry. John's a figure skater and Rodney's a... something... in curling.
5) A Dream by [livejournal.com profile] theladyofshadow. Radek is an ex-figure skater.
6) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (2010) by [livejournal.com profile] sardonicsmiley. John's a figure skater and Rodney's a hockey player.

If we include hockey AUs:
7) Stanley Is Just A Cup by Mystic
8) Playing The Body by [livejournal.com profile] aesc

9) And last but not least... we have Evan Lysacek in Atlantis! Stargate: Midwestern Section by [livejournal.com profile] lannamichaels (who is certifiable)
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Lysacek)
"FIGURE SKATING (2/2): Even though the Russians are a shadow of what they were two years ago and the Canadians have disappeared, getting back on the gold standard will be tough for the Americans, who didn't hear their anthem last time. If the Hello Kitty Generation (Mirai Nagasu, Caroline Zhang, Rachael Flatt) matures or former world champ Kimmie Meissner rights herself, the women at least should get a silver. So should dancers Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, who did it in 2006. That could be all, though.

Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir will be on the downside of their careers in 2010, when Wakefield's Stephen Carriere could be the man. And the pairs won't break the Chinese hammerlock. As the sport has become more aerial, the Asians are on the rise."

Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir will be 24 and 25 years old in 2010.

On the downside of their careers.

24.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Lysacek)
As requested, here's the awards ceremony for the men's championship, complete with [livejournal.com profile] wildernessguru's comments:



Congratulations, Evan Lysacek.

I just learned from [livejournal.com profile] roaringmice that next year's Skate America will be held in Everett, WA. Skate America - Oct. 24-26, 2008 – Practice ice and Fan Fest begins Oct. 23, 2008. I think it's a smart move to drum up local interest early since --

Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2009 will be held on February 2-8, 2009 in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum.

Annnnnnnd... as most of you may know...

The Olympics will be held in Vancouver, Canada, just across the border in 2010.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
Man... I woke up this morning and I was so wiped from last night's homework cram, even though I wanted to work on Out Of Bounds -- I couldn't. I drew a complete blank. I did tinker a bit with a scene that I sent [livejournal.com profile] dossier, [livejournal.com profile] rabidfan & Co. last week.

I'm thinking I'm going to do some "splatter" writing: just write random scenes that I feel strongly now, which I can fit together at a later point.

For those of you who were interested, here's my shaky (sorry, I'm new to digital cameras) footage of Evan Lysacek's warm-up for the US Nationals Freeskate. I rather enjoy [livejournal.com profile] wildernessguru's running commentary:

icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Lysacek)
... to bluntly say what no one else will admit.

"Figure skating used to have a public persona comparable to the high school homecoming queen or prom queen," the always-controversial Weir noted before the [US Nationals]. "Now our image to the public is the homecoming queen after she got knocked up on prom night and is living on the wrong side of the tracks."

Weir of course, is referring to the 2002 Olympic judging scandal which tarnished the reputation of figure skating worldwide but had the biggest impact in the U.S., where the games were hosted and saw the biggest TV audience.

Personally, I think the the new scoring system is the problem, not the politics. The politics behind the scenes had always been the fun part of figure skating for the audience. We used to know which judge gave which score and have always gone, "Ooo! Look at the low score the Russian judge gave the American skater." Plus the scores were easy to understand. Even in grammar school I knew that 6.0 was better than a 5.7, and grasped the concept that 6.0 was like a perfect "A."

Now we get a score: "244.77."

Huh? What does that number mean to the fans who don't follow skating religiously? I told WG, "Anything over 200 is pro-level." But that applies to the final combined short program and freeskate score, not the short program alone.

Weir and Lysacek's tie this weekend at 244.77 is much more exciting when you know that this is the highest skating score ever. That's how hard they fought each other.

Tickets to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, go on sale this October. Figure skating tickets are as low as $50 for the nosebleed seats. Trust Canada to keep their promise to have affordable tickets so regular people can attend. Figure skating is a great show. Unlike skiing, where you can expect to stand there for an hour only to have a blur rush by ("which guy was that?" -- "I think he was ours"), skating delivers three hours of non-stop entertainment. Even between programs there are always skaters warming up on the ice doing cool jumps (or impressive falls).

Anyhow, I have two shaky and poor quality vids of the US Nationals that have been uploaded to Imeem, I'm just waiting for the confirmation email.

Overwhelmed at school this week. I started my tutoring job and so -- eep. Haywire.

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icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
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