Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waltz-8 & Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club, as usual. I warmed up with edges, then Lynne came on the ice as I was drawing my circles.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- first one was a little wonky (hey, I'm still warming up) but subsequent were pretty good.
  • FI8 -- good.
  • waltz-8 -- we made a little bit of progress here.  A considerable amount of time just on the RBO - step forward; I worked on really opening the hips so that helped the step forward, and then I made myself really hold the shoulder back and lean into the LFO edge as I stepped forward.  It helped.  Hopefully I can do it next time I practice :-).
  • serpentines -- these are about the same.  Lynne suggested (maybe she's said this before) to push my hips forward when/right after I push... it made me stand up straighter and get better flow.  It feels pretty weird but I'll keep working on it since it did seem to help.

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Spins & Jumps

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert....

Today's lesson:
  • waltz jump -- still working on improving my form on this jump.  We worked on holding the FO edge a little longer to allow time to bring the arms back, then forward for the actual jump.  Not too bad.
  • salchow -- mmph.  We worked on holding the LBI longer and holding that free leg back before bringing it through (knee up!).  As I told JJ, I know Anna told me to do this, like 8 years ago... geez.  Anyway clearly I need to work on being more comfortable and solid in that position so that I can have a solid foundation from which to jump.  Some progress, I think.
  • spins -- not much progress here.  JJ video'd me.. yikes.  I really need to keep my head up, it sends me onto my toe too much.  My position is not nearly as impressive as it feels!  Oh well.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club today for patch practice, as usual.  Warmed up with edges, drew circles, FO8, FI8, waltz-8....

I spent 20+ minutes on the waltz-8.  Ugh.  I do think it's gotten a bit better, and I felt like having sharper blades was some help.  After that I did BO8 and serpentines... I am having issues with the LBO, it feels like I am leaning out of the circle on the last 1/3 so I go flat.  Grrr.  I had this problem a long time ago and fixed it but it's been back a few weeks now.  Grrr.  Serpentines were about the same.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Choreo Touch-Up

I skated the Gilbert coffee club today to work on touching-up the choreography for my Dramatic program with Holly.

We started by running the program with music, then we talked about some changes/fixes:
  1. Holly wants to add some arms before the waltz jump.  Basically after the mohawk & BXO, skate backward  on two feet for a moment, "present", then brush back and do the waltz jump.
  2. Holly wanted to shorten the time after the salchow, so we worked on doing the punch-punch gesture *right* after stepping forward after the salchow.
  3. For Autumn Antics only, she wants me to stop (after the spiral) facing back toward the judges, not straight forward to the boards.
So we worked on those changes.  We also worked a bit on the transition after the little spin around (after the spiral) into the RFO3s.  It's always felt a bit awkward.  Holly would rather keep the spin to just one rev in place then immediately push out to the right for the RFO3s.  We worked on this a bunch but it's still awkward.  We also worked on trying to shorten the time before the half-flip, and to curve around quicker/faster/tighter after the half flip.

Then we ran the program again, and again, and talked about it and worked through some of the issues, then we ran it 3x more times!  Yow, I was dying.  The first of those last 3 was really good!  The 2nd to last one not so great, but the very last one was better.  Perhaps best of all was that I finished ON TIME the last 3 runthroughs! Woo hoo!  I was stoked.

All in all this was a really awesome lesson and great timing.  I'm feeling really good about this program now.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Skating With TFSC

I was down in Tucson today and skated with my home club, Tucson FSC at the TCC.  As usual, nice ice.  We had 6 skaters including a new club member!

I worked on moves for the first half or so.. meh.  Then worked on spins and jumps, and chunks of my program.  Then I ran my program with my music -- started off well, then fell landing my waltz jump... really!?  Geez.  Got up and finished and overall it was not bad.  I was just really annoyed both because I fell on one of my better elements, and especially because before I fell I was actually ON TIME for once!!  Oh well.

All in all a good skate.  Tomorrow I'm supposed to work with Holly on program touch-up.  Two weeks until Autumn Antics!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sherwood Competition Videos

For those that might be interested, here are the videos from the Sherwood competition in August.

Showcase Dramatic:

Figures -- FO8:

Figures -- BO8:

Figures -- BI8:

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  I had taken my patch skates up to Ice Den yesterday to have Dave Kimmel sharpen them and also to look at my L blade mounting.  Sure enough he pointed out that the back of my L blade wasn't sitting straight; the inside mounting was recessed into the heel a bit.  So he put a small leather shim under it, and also sharpened the blades.

I had a good skate.  It's nice to have sharp blades again.  I was a little worried the blade adjustment would mess with my LBO but that doesn't seem to be the case at all.  The LFO does feel a bit more secure though I'm not clear whether that's from the adjustment or due to having sharp blades again.  Either way I think I'll call it good for now.

I did my usual warmup with edges, then drew my circles, FO8, FI8, waltz-8.  Spent some time on BO8 and 3s to center also.  It felt good.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waltz-8 And 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  Warmed up with edges as usual, then Lynne came on the ice and I drew my circles.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- a little wonky first time each side, but okay.
  • FI8 -- decent.
  • waltz-8 -- working much the same issues as before.  I think I am making some progress at least in that I'm stepping onto a better FO edge at the end.  Still stepping out too much on the step forward though.
  • 3s to center -- ugh.  We worked on doing better 3s -- they need to be quicker and I need to roll up to the toe more.  I did improve them a bit.  Still not checking well so the BI edge is curving in rapidly.  Grrr.
I talked with Lynne about my L blade.  I've been thinking for a while that perhaps I need to have it adjusted since I've always had such a hard time getting on the LFO.  On the other hand the LBO is really nice.  We decided I should talk with Dave about it when I get them sharpened, which will probably be next week.

After my lesson I worked on BO8, some more waltz-8 and more 3s to center.

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Power-3s And Salchow

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:
  • power-3s -- most of our lesson today... still working on the R side.  JJ had me work holding the hockey stick (in front this time at least!) to work on the back lobe, to keep over the circle.  It did help a bit.  I think we did make some small progress.  Grrr.
  • waltz jump -- just a little time on these, to continue working on having better arms and followthrough. JJ made some corrections and told me I need to hold the LFO longer.
  • salchow -- these have been really bad lately so we worked on them and actually got me to JUMP -- usually it's been more of a "step".  But I actually did jump, several times.  Yay!
I asked JJ about Autumn Antics and he agreed it would be good to do some polishing of the Dramatic program with Holly, so hopefully I can do that next week.

After my lesson I finished out the session working some more on moves and also on salchow; I did a really good (for me) salchow!  Probably my best ever -- good timing and again an actual jump!  Teri even saw it, so I have a witness.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I skated Chandler coffee club today for freestyle practice.  I had a really good skate!  Spent most of my time on Bronze moves, and more-or-less ran through the test.  Then I ran my program and it went relatively well -- I got a very nice 3-rev spin :-).  Then some more time on moves.

I noticed the other day I've gotten kind of sloppy on my waltz jump so I made an effort to clean that up, especially with the setup (arms etc.) and follow-through.  I'm pleased with most of the moves except for power-3s which are still rather lacking.

Competition in 2.5 weeks!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Nice ice and only 5 skaters. 

I warmed up with edges, drew my circles with my scribe, then the FO8 and FI8 as usual and on to waltz-8, which I spent about 30 minutes on.  I spent some time fixing the LFO3 so that I didn't put my foot down early (bad habit that recently surfaced).  After I fixed that I kept working on the step forward... ugh.  Really not much progress here.

I spent the last 10 minutes on BI8.  Mmmph.  Not much progress here either, it's about the same.  I need a bigger/better push!  Grrr.


My back-3 lesson with Lynne on the 8:15 FS at Chandler.  The usual setup, we warmed up with forward and back 2-foot turns on the circle, then BO3s on the wall, then out to the circle again (this is a 20 minute lesson).

The RBO3 is really coming along; definitely improved from last time.  Still not getting much flow out of it but it's generally happening pretty consistently and best of all not scary, so I'm okay practicing.

LBO3 -- still really stuck.  On the wall I can do this but I can't get my toes lifted when I'm out on the ice.  Ugh.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Skating At TCC Part 2

I skated the Sunday freestyle with the TFSC at the TCC today, 90 minutes.  Much like yesterday -- mostly moves, and I ran my program again.  Nothing exciting... I'm thinking that my 3s just really stink in general.  They just almost always feel really forced.  Grrr.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Skating At TCC Part 1

I skated the Saturday FS with my home club (Tucson FSC) at the Tucson Convention Center arena this morning.  As usual, not crowded and pretty nice ice.

I worked mostly on Moves, concentrating on power-3s.  No major breakthroughs.  I also ran some chunks of my Dramatic program, and then ran it once with music... just so-so.   My salchow is really stinky right now.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Power-3s, Spins

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert this morning.. when JJ came on the ice he was on the phone with Sonya, he handed the phone over so I could say "Hi".  I love that they are friends and can work together for my benefit!

Today's lesson:
  • power-3s -- we worked on the R side of these (continuation of my lesson with Sonya on Wednesday!).  The back lobe is a lot better and I'm doing somewhat better on the actual RFO3... I did 4 lobes down the ice.  The biggest problem remaining now seems to be that I'm square after the BXO still, so it's really hard to step forward and when I do I'm on an FI not FO edge.  Grrr.  JJ says I need to think about opening my shoulders.
  • spins -- we spent about 10 minutes on these.  I did one of my best-ever spins and for once JJ was there!  He was pleased.  I really got over my L side and found the sweet spot and managed to just stay with it for a while.  I did another one after that that was almost as good.  Then they got not so good :-(.  A bit frustrating; my concentration seems to fall off, or I over think things.  Grrr.
  • 5-step mohawk -- just a couple of minutes on these.  The good news is the lobes are a good size and I'm having okay flow.  The bad news is that the criteria for this move, if I remember correctly, are edge quality and extension.. and of course my mohawk and BO edge are still weak.  Grrr.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Perseverance; Power-3s

I am in Oregon today; I skated  a double-header this morning.  First, I skated for 45 minutes at Sherwood ("Shiny Rink") on the 6 a.m. FS, then drove up to Winterhawks Skating Center (WSC) for a lesson with Sonya at 7:30.

My practice at Sherwood was fruitful.  Besides enjoying the company of Coach Leone and skating buddy Madison, I ran through the Bronze moves and then worked extensively on power-3s and 5-step mohawk.

My lesson with Sonya at WSC was all about power-3s.   We focused on the R foot since that's my weakest side.  We worked on the back lobe extensively; Sonya gave me an exercise to do (actually she gave this to me a lonnnng time ago, I believe) -- two BXOs, then power-shift and hold the circle around the opposite direction; then shift to two BXOs the opposite direction, power shift and hold the circle around the other way.  If you do this right you create a figure-8.

After that we worked some more on the 3, and then on the back choctaw.  Sonya had me try to rotate my body (in this case, bring the L shoulder around) on the step forward to get a better RFO edge.  Not sure about that.

Sonya also suggested I might try starting the move with the R foot instead of L (it is permitted to start on either foot).  I tried that and I think it works better for me -- first of all it gets the harder side over with first so I can "finish strong", and also she had me start from the circle hash marks nearest the boards (facing the end of the rink) and just skate two strokes into the first RFO -- it seemed a lot easier.  I'll have to see what JJ thinks.

All in all a great lesson and then I had a wonderful chat with Sonya afterward.  Good stuff!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Waltz-8, BI8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual...  I warmed up with edges; Lynne came on the ice as I was about to start BO edges.  After the edges we took a moment for me to draw my circles with my scribe.

Today's lesson:
  • BO, BI edges -- Lynne's fairly happy with these.  I am down to 5 lobes on the BI edges so that's an improvement, and they look fairly solid.
  • FO8 -- not bad; a little wonky 'cause I wasn't warmed up but not that bad.
  • FI8 -- good. although I totally rotated the last LFI as soon as I pushed -- if I'd done that on the R foot there's no way I could have held it through the rest of the circle but I have more control on that side so it was okay.
  • waltz-8 -- we worked on these for quite a while.  They are slightly better.  I actually had one time on the L side where I held the RBO very nicely and then stepped forward onto the circle!  Unfortunately I couldn't repeat this feat :-( but it was encouraging.  The goal here it to stand up straight (don't be forward) and just turn all the way.  We'll see.
  • BI8 -- finished up with these.  I actually got alllmost all the way around on the RBI!  So that's progress since these are full-size circles.  Still having issues with the LBI, I don't push hard enough and I'm curving in about halfway around the circle :-(.
All in all a good lesson.  After my lesson I worked on serpentines for a while and feel like I made a little progress.  Again, pushing harder, and also sitting back on the FO edge and not anticipating the change of edge seem to be key.

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I skated the 8:15 FS this morning at Chandler.  I had a pretty good skate!  Warmed up a bit, then ran through the Bronze Moves test in order with just a brief break in between, so pretty much like the test.  It was a bit rough (esp. power-3s) but okay.  I was really glad I made myself run through the whole thing.

After that I ran my Dramatic program once without music... ugh, pretty rough!  Then I ran it again with music and it wasn't bad.  Okay, the salchow and the spin were not so good but the program had some flow and I think it looked okay.  I worked on using only 3/4 ice since that's what I will need for Autumn Antics....

I spent a little bit of time on BO3s and actually did a really nice RBO3!

Speaking of which I finally signed up for Autumn Antics today!  It's Nov. 11th at Polar Ice Peoria.  Should be a lot of fun!

Friday, October 12, 2012


I skated the Chandler coffee club today.  I spent my time on Moves.  I did all of them at some point, though I didn't run the complete test and in particular I didn't run through power-3s all at one go.  I spent a lot of time on 5-step mohawk and power-3s since they are my weak points.  My RFO3s are really weak, and the back choctaw on these is really a problem (it's not much better on the other side) -- so hard for me to really get my weight over my skate on these.

I really needed to run my dramatic program since I'm going to be skating Autumn Antics but it just seemed a bit too crowded.  I'll have to do it Monday a.m.

I am volunteering at SWP Regionals Saturday and Sunday night -- announcing for official practice ice.  It should be fun.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Edges, then drew my circles, FO8, FI8, waltz-8... I feel like a broken record, lol.   Not much progress to record there.  Spent the last 5 minutes on BI8 and *almost* made it all the way around the full-size circle for the RBI!  LBI still pretty weak though.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waltz-8, BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club... I warmed up with edges, then did the FO8 and FI8, and had just gotten out my scribe when Lynne came on the ice; so I drew my circles and we went on..

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- we spent most of the lesson on these, esp. working on the BO edge and step forward.  We made some progress on holding the BO edge more firmly and accurately -- key here was to really hold the upper body and not allow any swing to get started.  That helped a lot, and I was able to make myself hold the edge until the line.  The step forward is still too much "out" though and that's a tough one.
  • BO8 -- just a few minutes on these.  When I actually remember to hold the free foot in front for a while, they are not bad.  The LBO is still markedly weaker though.  It is hard to get me to lean into the circle on these, or if I do then I lean too much and deepen the edge so that I cut into the circle.  Grrr.

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5-Step Mohawk

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  Nice ice and just 4 skaters and 2 coaches.

Today we worked just on the 5-step mohawk.  JJ focused on getting me to fill out the pattern; he drew 2 long lines down the length of the rink representing the tops/edges of each lobe of the pattern and we worked to holllld the 1st step, especially, longer.  This seemed (at least on the R foot) to have the side effect of improving the mohawk itself so that it wasn't so hopped.. yay!  Then we worked on holding out the BO edge longer and flatter... with some success.  All in all some definite improvement here!

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Monday, October 08, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  Due to a work commitment I was running late so I only got to skate for 45 minutes.  Nice ice and only 6 skaters.

I warmed up with edges as usual, then drew my circles w/my scribe and did the FO8, FI8 and waltz-8.  I then spent all but the last 5 minutes of my skate working on waltz-8... bleah.  The FO3s are actually a bit better. I'm realizing (again) that I'm not going to be able to fix the step forward on this until I can get my weight off of my toe (further back on the blade) so that I can actually have my weight under me and turn the blade.  If I were in freestyle blades I'd just be pushing off the toepick and wouldn't notice, probably, but of course I have no toepick to push from!

Of course astute readers will realize that this is fundamentally the same issue I was working on this very morning with Lynne on the BO3!  Agh.


My back-3 lesson with Lynne on the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler.  Since Regionals is in town (Peoria) this coming weekend, apparently the rink decided to make the 8:30 - 9:15 a.m. FS a "high" FS, which I'm not eligible for.  I was kind of surprised since they've never done "leveled" FS sessions at Chandler that I know of.  Anyway the result was we had to move to 8:10 from 8:30, and I only skated for 45 minutes instead of an hour.

Same drill as usual -- forward and back two-foot turns on the circle, then BO3s on the wall, then back to the circle.  The RBO3 is really improving!  I got a couple that had at least a little bit of flow out of them, and I'm doing a somewhat better job of leaning into the circle/edge more.  The LBO3... maybe the teeeeensiest amount of progress in that I'm getting my weight slightly further back... but it's still not happening.  It's going to be a long road with those I expect.  I really need to work on those more, like, a lot more.

In other news I am signed up to do announcing for official practice ice for Regionals Saturday and Sunday night.  I took both shifts each night since they were still open... it's going to be a lonnnng night.  Fun though!

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Friday, October 05, 2012

What's A Scribe?

It occurred to me that many readers probably have never seen a scribe.  Here's a picture of mine:

My scribe (and I imagine most of the "stock"scribes that were made) has a metal post with grooves in it that was originally supposed to be used to inscribe circles in the ice.  Alas with generally prevailing ice and lighting conditions in my rink (and most modern rinks I've been in) it's really hard to see the mark from the metal post.  So I jury-rigged an attachment to hold a big Sharpie-style marker to the end of the scribe using a couple of hose clamps.  Here's what it looks like:

You can see the original metal post at the end of the metal rod, and the marker secured just inside of it.  It works pretty well so long as the ice is dry; the marker doesn't work well at all if the ice is wet (e.g. immediately after an ice cut).

Waltz-8 & BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  We started a little late due to a late ice cut.  I warmed up with edges, then drew my circles and we started.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- meh.  The first one on the R foot was pretty ucky, after that the improved a lot.  Hey, I wasn't warmed up.
  • FI8 -- again the R foot first time was pretty bad.  After that they were not bad at all.
  • Waltz-8 -- ugh.  We spent a lot of time on these, especially on the BO edge and step forward (shades of ... this morning!).  I'm focusing on trying to approach the elements (esp. the FO3 and the BO edge) just like I do any other instance of that element and not something that's somehow different just because it's in a waltz-8.    It's hard.  My brain is a strange place sometimes!
  • BO8 -- finished up with these; we'd not looked at them in a while.  I'm working on trying to have a better body position -- keeping up straight and keeping the free leg close.  Hmmph.  It's really hard.
I have a long way to go on this stuff it seems.  I keep hoping for some "magic bullet" but I'm pretty sure there isn't one, I just need to keep working.  Grr.

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Power-3s and Circle-8

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:
  • Circle-8 -- we decided to look at these a bit.  I have trouble getting around -- I think it's because I have to push a lot harder in my freestyle blades than my patch blades and I'm just not compensating enough for the increased drag.  Anyway we spent some time on it and they got a little better.
  • power-3s -- just the R side.  Yuck.  We spent some time just working on the LBI edge to the step forward for the RFO3 and it did get a little better.  Grr.
Next week we are back to Wednesdays.  Autumn Antics is coming up (11/11) and we agreed that I should sign up for it.  I'll need to work on the Dramatic program since I've not really touched it since the Sherwood competition.  

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Thursday, October 04, 2012


I'm back from my trip, and got on the ice for an hour this morning at Chandler.  I'd not skated in a week!  It wasn't that bad though.

I spent almost all of my time on Bronze Moves, and actually ran through the entire test from beginning to end in order ... which is, I think, the first time I've done that.  Eeep! 

  • perimeter XOs -- okay, but my CW FXOs are pretty stinky w/no underpush.  Yuck.
  • power-3s -- my worst move.  the LFO3s are almost okay, RFO3s are pretty stink and I lose the axis.  I worry about these a lot.
  • BXOs to landing position -- kind of okay although I'm still up on my toe and I think I need to keep the upper body lifted more.
  • circle-8 -- you would think these would be a cinch since I work on figures, but I have a hard time getting a good enough push in my freestyle blades.  Grrr.
  • 5-step mohawk -- meh.  The pattern is okay and I'm relatively comfortable but there's no way I would pass me with my crappy hopped mohawks.
Lessons tomorrow w/both JJ and Lynne!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

NWP Regionals

I just got back from Northwest Pacific Regionals in lovely Eugene, OR.  I had a great time!

Unlike my trip last year, I decided to volunteer (I had some "encouragement" lol! from Lauren Zell and Celia Chan).  When I saw Lauren at the Sherwood competition I mentioned that I was going to NWP Regionals and she asked me if was going to volunteer.... I told her I'd love to announce.  To make a long story short(er) I wound up doing quite a bit of announcing for the non-qualifying portions of the competition.

I love announcing!  It's great to have such a great view of the competition, and to feel like you are making a difference.  I had a number of very nice compliments on my performance, and several folks (judges/referees/organizers) told me I really should seek an appointment as an "official" announcer from US Figure Skating.  So I guess I will do that!