October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

South of the border, the kids keep it real for Halloween. The costumes skew to the scary, gory, spooky. It's probably because Dia de Muertos, "Day Of The Dead" comes two days later. That's the real morbid stuff.

So for Halloween at my daughter's school, boys are either skeletons, vampires, pirates or mummies. Girls tend to be witches, Morticia from the Adams Family, Maleficent, the villian from Sleeping Beauty or black cats. And then there are the gender neutral costumes: zombies or devils.

I saw a little cutie dressed as a nurse, but her face and costume were covered in fake blood. Even the adorable 4-year old girl dressed in your standard Disney princess dress showed up at school with her face painted all white and black smudged under her eyes turning her from Sleeping Beauty to Zombie Beauty.

So when the costume parade at school began and kid in a baseball cap and sweatshirt walked across the stage, I'd love to know why his parents thought "fan of hockey" was so scary.

At least he wasn't a fan of figure skating.

October 27, 2009

Confession (Of The Month)

Now that I'm past the statute of limitations of any ice show fines they could hand out, I can fess up. And since I have a dozen or so confessions, I thought I'd turn it into a monthly feature. So, here goes ...

When I skated one show in Japan, I stayed in a tiny hotel room of the hotel we were skating for. Did I say it was a small room? It was so tiny, I could almost reach three of the four walls when I stretched out on the bed. Anywho ... since we were not hotel guests we did not get regular maid service, regular towels, or regular treatment.

In fact, I think the maids we had were from the Japanese Retired Cleaning Association that got together once every two weeks or so for tea and then a random cleaning of the skaters' rooms in our hotel. Usually three or more of these tiny people (lots of things are small in Japan) would swarm into our room to clean them, unnanounced at any time of the day, forcing the skater to get out the room - usually swearing and fuming.

It was funny to watch the skaters get so mad. Luckily, my room was at the end of the line, so I got enough warning to change out of my pajamas and even help the old cleaners a little. And you know what? When I did I started getting the regular towels and new sheets that paying hotel guests got. And I helped out some more and tried to practice my Japanese on them. Then I started getting lots of towels, instead of the rationed few the skaters usually got and slippers to boot.

Then one day I went too far. I left a little gift for the maids. Big mistake.

They were compelled to give me a bigger gift and then I needed to get them another bigger gift and so on and so on. This my friends is the gift-giving-arms-race of Japan. Be weary.

But as for the confession - here it is - I never told any of the other skaters about my little gold mine, because it was too much fun to watch them curse and whine.

October 19, 2009

Judging System Explained by Aaron - Repost

It's competition season now. And if any of you are like me - you're pining over the days of 6.0 and can't make heads or tails of the new system, all while you're brain is full trying to remember the names of the top pair skaters and ice dancers. So I thought I would repost a simple, yet comprehensive explanation by Aaron of Axels, Loops, and Spins on judging.


There are parts I like about it...parts I don't. Here's the easy way of beginning to understand it.

Every element (spin, jump, lift, etc.) has an assigned point value. Then the judges rate how well you do it...great is +3...terrible is -3...and there's everything in between. These are called Grade's of Execution (GOE's). The GOE's on each element are averaged and the skater get's that much bonus or deduction for the element.

Spins, footwork, spiral sequences have what they call levels. Level 1 stuff is pretty basic...level 4 stuff is the manic crazy stuff you were mentioning. The higher the level...the more points you get.

The old artistic score is now the program component score. Things like skating skills, transitions, choreography, interpretation, timing are each judged on a 10 point scale. 10 is great, 1 is really bad.

When it's time for the marks, a random selection of judges is chosen (we or the judges don't know which judges scores are counting)...the technical element score is all points and levels the skaters got on their elements all added up. The Program component scores are all those things on the 10 point scale added up. This gives you the segment total.

The final score is found by adding all the segment scores together...highest points wins.


October 15, 2009

Attention All Show Skaters

Theatre Arts On Ice is holding a fundraising skate party!

Where: Seaside Ice in Redondo Beach, California - Check it out. Pretty nice, eh.

When: November 14, 4 - 7 pm

Why: Proceeds will be used to support the making of "The Frozen Stage," an historical documentary project by Susan Austin and Scott Williams that traces the evolution of professional/theatrical skating.

I wish I could be there. You should go if you can and support the effort to preserve the legacy of show skating.

Go to http://www.seasideice.com/thefrozenstage for more info!

October 12, 2009

Follow Up From the FTC

Here's a follow up article about mentioning somewhere in your glowing review you got the stuff for free. Those fines they would be handing out? They would not go to the blogger, but the advertiser instead.

So that's good news for bloggers, but that's also bad news for bloggers. Now I know I won't be getting anything for free!

October 7, 2009

Tell Them You Got It For Free

Attention fellow bloggers out there - this just in from the FTC. Don't go giving something a good review that you got for free without disclosing you got it for free. The FTC could fine you up to $11,000.

For me, the only problem would be that I haven't gotten any free stuff yet! Are you listening Royal Caribbean? I'll give you a great ice show review.

October 2, 2009

The other HOI

... that would be Horses On Ice.

Although they are actually called Islandics On Ice, named for the country they come from.

And I thought bears that skated were pretty cool, but the bears better move over for another animal to take the spotlight.

Iceland has always been pretty hopped up about horses. They have strict rules that don't allow Icelandic horses (think cute little ponies only they are fully grown) to mix with any other breed. I lived in Reykjavik, Iceland for a short time in 1987 and was lucky enough to go riding. Those little guys have a very smooth gait called flugskeið or "flying pace" that no other breed can do. It was a lot of fun and no soar butt afterward.

As I checked Wikipedia, I found out they have two more gaits than regular horses, but I'll bet, no double axel. Yet.

When I was there in 87, Iceland had no ice rinks and thus no skaters. I think they have a rink now, but it is probably safe to say that Iceland has still has more skating horses than skaters.

I wonder if those horses complain as much as showgirls do.